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The Chinese Poet ** Done into 
English Verse by SHIGEYOSHI 
OB ATA ** With an Introduction and 
Biographical and Critical Matter 
Translated from the Chinese 





This is the first attempt ever made to deal with any 
single Chinese poet exclusively in one book for the 
purpose of introducing him to the English-speaking 

Li Po has been the best-known Chinese poet in the 
Orient for the last one thousand years or more. In 
America his name has only recently been made familiar 
to the poetry public through the translation of his 
poems by eminent contemporary poets. But as the 
Bibliography at the end of the present volume indicates, 
Li Po — variously designated as Le Pih, Ly Pe, Li Tai- 
pe, Li Tai-po, et cet. — has been known more or less to 
Europe during the past century. A prominent place is 
accorded the poet in all the French and German anthol- 
ogies of Chinese poems, which have appeared from 
time to time. He is included among the Portraits des 
Celebres Chinois in Amiot's Memoires (1776-97), while 
Pavie's Contes Chinois (1839) has a nouvelle of his 
life. Excellent studies and translations have been made 
by two German scholars, Florenz and Bernhardi, in 
their monographs on the poet. 

In the English language, there is Mr. Edkins' paper 
"On Li Tai-po," which was read before the Peking 
Oriental Society in 1888 and was published in that So- 
ciety's Journal in 1890. Mr. Edkins was perhaps the 
first Englishman to pay special attention to our poet, 
though his translations are trite and barren. Professor 
Giles' Chinese Poetry in English Verse and History of 



Chinese Literature came out respectively in 1898 and 
1901. While his dexterous renderings of Li Po and 
other poets have since been generally accepted as stand- 
ard English versions, they fail to create an appetite for 
more of their kind owing probably to the professor's 
glib and homely Victorian rhetoric which is not to the 
taste of the present day. Mr. Cranmer-Byng is elegant, 
fcut somewhat prolix. His two books, A Lute of Jade 
and A Feast of Lanterns, have many gorgeous lines, 
suffused, I fear, with a little too much of Mr. Cranmer- 
Byng's own impassioned poetry. These three men be- 
long to the old school of translators, who usually em- 
ploy rhyme and stanzaic forms. 

Then, in 1915, Mr. Ezra Pound entered the field with 
his Cathay, a slender volume of a dozen or more poems 
mostly of Li Po, "translated from the notes of the late 
Professor Fenollosa and the decipherings of Professors 
Mori and Ariga." In spite of its small size and its 
extravagant errors the book possesses abundant color, 
freshness and poignancy, and is in spirit and style the 
first product of what may be called the new school of 
free-verse translators, who are much in evidence now- 
adays. I confess that it was Mr. Pound's little book 
that exasperated me and at the same time awakened me 
to the realization of new possibilities so that I began 
seriously to do translations myself. Mr. Waley omits 
Li Po from his first book, but includes in his More 
Translations a few specimens from a group of poems 
that he published in the Asiatic Review, in which he 
avers that he does not regard Li Po so highly as others 
do. On the other hand, Miss Lowell devotes her recent 
delightful volume, Fir-Flower Tablets, largely to our 
poet, with a selection of eighty-five poems by him. Mr. 
Bynner's translation of what he calls Three Hundred 



Pearls of Tung Poetry, has been announced for early 
publication, in which Li Po will be represented by some 
twenty-five poems. 

Now to the Western literary world, generally speak- 
ing, much of Chinese poetry remains still an uncharted 
sea for adventure. The romantic explorer who comes 
home from it may tell any tale to the eager and credu- 
lous folk. Not that yarns are wilfully fabricated, but 
on these strange vasty waters, dimly illumined with 
knowledge, one may see things that are not there and 
may not see things that are really there. Such is 
certainly the case with Li Po. For instance, Mr. Edkins 
speaks of a poem (No. 72) which he entitles "A Japa- 
nese Lost at Sea," as being "unknown in China" but 
having been preserved by the Japanese. He adds with 
the pride of a discoverer that the poem was given him 
by ,a Japanese in 1888, whereas as a matter of fact the 
same poem has for these centuries had a place in any 
Chinese edition of Li Po's complete works. Take an- 
other example. Due to the devious and extremely 
hazardous nature of his method of translation, Mr. 
Pound gathers two different poems of Li Po into one, 
incorporating the title of the second piece in the body 
of his baffling conglomeration. Even Mr. Waley regis- 
ters his fallibility by a curiously elaborate piece of 
mistranslation in the Asiatic Review. Speaking of Li 
Po's death, he quotes from Li Yang-ping's Preface a 
passage, rendering it as follows: 

When he was about to hang up his cap (a eu- 
phemism for dying), Li Po was worried . . . 

which should read, to follow Mr. Waley's manner, 

When I was about to hang up my cap (a eu- 
phemism for resigning from office), Li Po was 
sick. . . . 



"Kua Kuan," a quite common Chinese phrase, meaning 
to hang one's cap, that is, one's official cap, is never 
used as a conceit for dying. In her Introduction to Fir- 
Flower Tablets, Mrs. Ayscough is right in rejecting the 
tempting morsel of legend about Li Po's drowning, 
which has been accepted by Professor Giles and 
others. But on the same page she makes a misstate- 
ment to the effect that Li Po after his return from exile 
went to "live with his friend and disciple, Lu Yang- 
ping, in the mountains near Kiu Kiang." The fact is 
Li Yang-ping (not Lu Yang-ping) was then magistrate 
of Tang-tu, the present city of Tai-ping in the province 
of Anhwei, at a considerable distance from the Lu 
Mountains, which are in Hunan. Nor does she seem 
to be conversant with the notorious bit of China's lit- 
erary history regarding the "Eight Immortals of the 
Winecup." They acquired their enviable fame in the 
taverns of Chang- an during Li Po's sojourn in that 
metropolis. Tu Fu's celebrated poem (No. 125) will 
serve as an evidence. The group never lived in the 
mountains together as Mrs. Ayscough makes out. Again 
she blunders glaringly and inexcusably in writing, 
"China's three greatest poets, Li Tai-po, Tu Fu, and Po 
Chu-i all lived during his (Ming Huang's) long reign 
of forty-five years," for elsewhere in her own book the 
years of these poets are correctly given to be respec- 
tively, A. p. 701-762, 712-770 and 772-846. 

By citing these few obvious errors committed by 
zealous scholars and daring poets, I do not mean to 
discredit their brilliant achievements, which I fully 
appreciate, and to which I am heavily indebted in the 
execution of my work. Only I feel it my duty to in- 
dicate to my reader the still very imperfect state of 
what is accessible to him in the way of a Li Po literature 
in English. And conscious of my own failings, I offer 



him my book in all humility although I have profited 
by the contributions of my predecessors, and although 
I feel that in the limited scope I have chosen, my work 
is generally adequate. 

I am a Japanese. I pretend to no erudition in Chi- 
nese literature. But I have been all my life a student 
and lover of Chinese poetry, or as much of it as I 
can read. In my boyhood I learned some shorter pieces 
of Li Po by heart. And during these past years of my 
study and travel in America I have always carried with 
me a small edition of his works. These translations 
were made at intervals, over half of them having been 
finished before the spring of 1916. It is more than a 
year since the entire collection was completed and I 
began to look for a publisher. A few of the poems 
were published in the Wisconsin Literary Magazine, a 
student publication at the University of Wisconsin 
where I did my graduate work in English during 1917- 
1918. One poem (No. 9) was printed by a friendly 
editor in 1919 in the now defunct Art and Life. All the 
rest is presented to the public for the first time. 

For the historical and biographical matter in the 
Introduction I drew only on the most reliable Chinese 
sources such as the writings of the poet himself and his 
contemporaries and the two Books of Tang, while I 
referred constantly to the works of European historians 
and translators. As to the poems themselves, they rep- 
resent only a little more than one-tenth of the works 
of Li Po preserved in the standard Chinese edition, 
but I have tried to make the selection as varied and 
representative as possible and included, consequently, a 
number of popular pieces which have been translated 
by more than one hand. I have honestly tried my best 
to follow the original poems closely and to preserve 



the peculiar emotional color of each poem, waiting for 
the moment when I was in the right mood to take up a 
particular piece. For the elucidation of the difficult 
passages I depended largely on Japanese and Chinese 
commentaries, and consulted freely, wherever possible, 
existing European translations; and I had also the as- 
sistance of my Chinese friends. But I wish to have my 
reader understand that many of my versions are far 
from being literal. A literal translation would often 
leave a Chinese poem unintelligible unless supplied 
with a great amount of exegesis, and I did not wish to 
empty all the rich content of the original into footnotes. 
I have amplified or paraphrased on many occasions. 
I have omitted unimportant words here and there. I 
have discarded, or translated, a number of proper names 
because, some way or other, Chinese syllables refuse to 
sing in company with English words. I have dropped 
all the phonetic marks, which indicate some tonal pecu- 
liarities in certain words like Tang yiin, feng, etc., 
but which serve only to mystify a non-initiate like my- 
self or my reader. But after all these and other 
things I have done, I am inclined to believe that my 
renderings are often simpler and more exact than other 
extant versions, which I have studied and which I have 
listed at the end of the book. 

In conclusion, I acknowledge my heavy obligations 
to all my European and American precursors in the 
field and to my many personal friends who have aided 
me in various ways during these years of protracted 
toil. I mention specially my Chinese friend, Mr. Yu- 
lan Fung, who went over the entire manuscript and 
furnished me with valuable criticism and corrections, 
and also Mr. Lo and Mr. Yang who did for me the 
Chinese titles of the poems, which appear at the margins 



of the succeeding pages. Finally my deepest gratitude 
is due to my old friend, Arthur Harcourt Mountain, 
without whose enthusiastic interest and frequent com- 
panionship and collaboration this book might have 
never been brought to completion. 

Shigeyoshi Obatjl. 
February 3rd, 1922. 




Introduction 1 


1. On the Ship of Spice-wood ... 25 

2. A Summer Day ., 27 

3. Nocturne . 28 

4. A Farewell Song of White Clouds . 29 

5. The Long-Departed Lover .... 30 

6. Lady Yang Kuei-fei at the Imperial 

Feast of the Peony — I .... 31 

7. Lady Yang Kuei-fei at the Imperial 

Feast of the Peony — II .... 32 

8. Lady Yang Kuei-fei at the Imperial 

Feast of the Peony — III .... 33 

9. A Poem Composed at the Imperial Com- 

mand in the Spring Garden, while 
Looking on the Newly Green Wil- 
lows by the Dragon Pond and Listen- 
ing to the Hundred-fold Notes of 
the Nightingales . . . . . .34 

10. To His Friend Departing for Shuh . 36 

11. To His Three Friends ..... 37 

12. Addressed Humorously to Tu Fu . . 39 

13. On a Picture Screen 40 

14. On Ascending the North Tower One 

Autumn Day ....... 42 

15. The Summit Temple r . ..... 43 




Lao-lao Ting, a Tavern . . . 


. 44 


The Night of Sorrow .... 

. 45 


The Sorrow of the Jewel Staircase . 46 


The Girl of Pa Speaks .... 

. 47 


The Women of Yueh — I . . . 

. 48 


The Women of Yueh — II . . . 

. 49 


The Women of Yueh— III . . 

, . 50 


The Women of Yueh — IV . . 

. . 51 


The Women of Yueh — V . . 

. 52 


The Solitude of Night . . 

, . 53 


The Monument of Tears . . , 

. 54 


On a Quiet Night 

. 55 


The Blue Water 

. 56 


The Ching-ting Mountain . . 

. 57 


With a Man of Leisure . . . , 

. 58 


The Yo-Mei Mountain Moon . , 

. M 59 


On the City Street .... 

. 60 


On the Death of the Good Brewer of 
hsuan-cheng 61 


To His Wife 

. 62 


The Poet Thinks of His Old Home . 

. . 63 


Sorrow of the Long Gate Palace — I 64 


Sorrow of the Long Gate Palace 

—II 65 


An Encounter in the Field . . . 

. 66 


To Wang Lun 

. 67 


On Seeing off Meng Hao-jan . . 

. 68 


On Being Asked Who He is . . . 

. 70 


In the Mountains . m . . . 

. 71 



43. The Fair Queen of Wu 72 

44. While Journeying 73 

45. The Ruin of the Ku-su Palace ... 74 

46. The Ruin of the Capital of Yueh . . 75 

47. The River Journey from White King 

City 76 

48. By the Great Wall— I 77 

49. By the Great Wall— II 78 

50. The Imperial Concubine 79 

51. Parting at Ching-men 80 

52. On the Yo-yang Tower with His Friend, 

Chia 81 

53 Awakening from Sleep on a Spring 

Day 82 

54. Three with the Moon and His Shadow . 83 

55. An Exhortation 84 

56. The Intruder 86 

57. The Crows at Nightfall 87 

58. To Meng Hao-jan 88 

59. To Tung Tsao-chiu 89 

60. Takinc Leave of a Friend .... 94 

61. Maid of Wu 95 

62. The Lotus ......... 96 

63. To His Two Children 97 

64. To a Friend Going Home 99 

65. A Mountain Revelry 100 

66. The Old Dust 101 

67. A Pair of Swallows 102 

68. At a River Town .103 




I Am a Peach Tree 




The Silk Spinner 



Chuang Chou and the Butterfly. . 



The Poet Mourns His Japanese Friend 



In the Spring-time on the South Side 
of the Yangtze Kiang 



The Steep Road to Shuh . . . . 



Parting at a Tavern of Chin-ling . . 



The Phoenix Bird Tower 



His Dream of the Sky-land: A Fare- 
well Poem 



In Memoriam 



On the Road of Ambition . . . . 



To Tu Fu from Sand Hill City . . . 



A Vindication . . 



To Luh, the Registrar 



To the Fisherman 



The Tears of Banishment . . . . 



The Lotus Gatherer ., 



The Sport-Fellows 



The Dancing Girl . ; 



The Rover of Chao 



To His Friend at Chiang-Hsia . . . 



The Cataract of Luh Shan — I . . . 



The Cataract of Luh Shan— II . . . 



Bereft of Their Love >, . . 



Lady Wang-chao — I 



Lady Wang-chao— II 





95. The North Wind 138 

96. The Borderland Moon 140 

97. The Nefarious War 141 

98. Before the Cask of Wine .... 143 

99. Yuan Tan-chiu of the East Mountain 144 

100. Lines 145 

101. The Ballads of the Four Seasons — 

Spring 146 

102. The Ballads of the Four Seasons — 

Summer 148 

103. The Ballads of the Four Seasons — 

Autumn 149 

104. The Ballads of the Four Seasons — 

Winter 150 

105. Two Letters from Chanc-kan — I . . 151 

106. Two Letters from Chang-kan— II . . 153 

107. On Ascending the Sin-ping Tower . . 155 

108. On Going to Visit a Taoist Recluse on 

Mount Tai-tien, but Failing to Meet 
Him 156 

109. At the Cell of an Absent Mountain 

Priest 157 

110. On a Moonlight Night 158 

111. A Visit to Yuan Tan-chiu in the Moun- 

tains 159 

112. A Midnight Farewell 160 

113. The Song of Luh Shan 161 

114. To His .Wife on His Departure — I . . 163 

115. To His Wife on His Departure— II . . 164 

116. To His Wife on His Departure— III . . 165 

117. On His White Hair 166 

118. To the Honorable Justice Hsin . . . 167 




119. On Hearing the Flute in the Yellow 

Crane House 168 

120. On Hearing the Flute at Lo-cheng One 

Spring Night 169 

121. On the Tung-ting Lake — I . . . .170 

122. On the Tung-Ting Lake— II .... 171 

123. To His Wife . 172 

124. To His Friend, Wei, the Good Gov- 

ernor of Chiang-hsia Written in 
Commemoration of the Old Friend- 

ING LI PO 183 

125. The Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup 185 

126. The Ex-minister 187 

127. A Visit to Fan with Li Po . . . . 189 

128. Parting with Li Po on the Tung-ting 

Lake 190 

129. An Invitation to Li Po 191 

130. To Li Po on a Spring Day .... 193 

131. To Li Po 194 

132. The Grave of Li Po 195 



The Preface to the First Edition of 
the Poetical Works of Li Tai-po . 199 

Li Po — A Biography by Li Hsu . . 204 

Li Po — A Biography by Sung Chi . . 206 


Notes on Chinese Texts . . . .213 

Translations and Works on Li Po . .215 

Poems of Li Po Translated in This Book 219 







At the early dawn of medieval Europe China had 
reached the noontide of her civilization. Indeed, the 
three hundred years of the Tang dynasty beginning with 
the seventh century witnessed a most brilliant era of 
culture and refinement, unsurpassed in all the annals 
of the Middle Kingdom. And the greatest of all the 
artistic attainments of this period was in literature, and 
particularly in poetry. There were no dramatists; no 
romancers; but only poets — and poets there were galore. 

"In this age," remarks a native critic, "whoever was 
a man, was a poet." And this is not satire. The 
"Anthology of the Tang Dynasty" consists of nine hun- 
dred Books and contains more than forty-eight thousand 
nine hundred poems by no less than two thousand 
three hundred poets. Moreover, since this collection 
was compiled as late as the eighteenth century by order 
of a Manchu emperor, it represents only a meager crop 
from a field that had suffered the ruthless ravages of 
time for fully a thousand years. Imagine, then, the 
vast efflorescence of what must have been veritably a 
tropic jungle of poesy! 

Now a person may consider it no distinction to be 
counted one among these poets when the list is so large; 
but to be picked out as the greatest of them all — as the 
leader of this colossal army of immortals, is certainly 
a singular distinction and honor. And this honor falls 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

to Li Po. He, by almost unanimous consent, is re- 
garded as the greatest poet under the Tangs, and of 
China of all times. "He is the lofty peak of Tai," pro- 
claims an admirer, "towering above ten thousand moun- 
tains and hills; he is the sun in whose presence a million 
stars of heaven lose their scintillating splendor." 

Before attempting to follow the poet's career in de- 
tail, let us take a glance at China as it was under the 
Tang dynasty, especially under the famous emperor 
Hsuan Tsung, who was one time patron to Li Po, and 
whose long and illustrious reign, ending with his tragic 
fall, marks the golden age of Chinese poetry. 


The Tangs came to power in the early decades of the 
seventh century when Mahomet was just starting out on 
his first campaigns. Tai Tsung, the second emperor 
of the dynasty, in the twenty-three years of his reign 
(627-650) consolidated the hostile sections of the 
country and laid a firm foundation for his empire, 
which he greatly expanded by conquering Tibet and sub- 
duing the Tartar tribes of the Mongolian desert. Wu 
Hu — an empress (684-704) — has been much maligned 
for usurping the male prerogative of sovereignty; but 
she was undoubtedly one of China's ablest rulers and did 
more than uphold the prestige of her land during the 
last quarter of the century. Then followed shortly 
Hsuan Tsung, who ascended the dragon throne in 713 
and ruled for forty-two years. 

It was an age of great political power for China. 
Her suzeraignty extended from Siberia to the Himalaya 
mountain range, and from Korea to the Caspian Sea. 



Tributes were paid by India and Tonkin. The Caliphs 
of Medina sent precious stones, horses, and spice. From 
the Japanese capital, Nara, came envoys and students 
at frequent intervals, while once, in 643, from far 
Greece Emperor Theodosius despatched a mission to 
the court of Cathay. 

It was an age of prosperity. The fertile valleys of 
the Yellow River and the Yangtze-kiang were turned 
into fields of rice, barley and waving corn, amid gleam- 
ing streams and lakes. Peace reigned in China proper 
— the vast domain that had once been torn up and made 
desolate by internecine wars during the four centuries 
of the Three Kingdoms and the Six Dynasties. Even 
in the remotest rural district, the wine- pennant, a tavern 
sign, was seen flying on the roadside, denoting the pres- 
ence of tranquillity and good cheer, while large cities 
like Lo-yang (i. e. Honan-fu, Honan) and Chin-ling 
(i.e. Nanking, Kiansu) flourished immensely with in- 
creasing trade and travel. 

Chang-an, the present city of Hsian-fu in Shensi, was 
the capital and the wonder of the age. The city was 
never so rich, splendid, and spendthrift. "See ye," 
proudly sings a poet, "the splendor of the imperial 
abode, and know the majesty of the Son of Heaven!" 
Beside the main castle with its nine-fold gates, there 
were thirty-six imperial palaces that reared over the 
city their resplendent towers and pillars of gold, while 
innumerable mansions and villas of noblemen vied with 
one another in magnificence. By day the broad ave- 
nues were thronged with motley crowds of townfolk, 
gallants on horseback, and mandarin cars drawn by 
yokes of black oxen. And there were countless houses 
of pleasure, which opened their doors by night, and 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

which abounded in song, dance, wine and pretty women 
with faces like the moon. 

It was also an age of religious proselytism. Bud- 
dhism had been in China for centuries before the Tang 
dynasty, and the country was dotted with monasteries 
and pagodas. It was in the reign of Tai Tsung that 
Yuen Tsang, a Buddhist priest, made his famous pilgrim- 
age to India and brought back several hundred volumes 
of Sanscrit sutras. While Confucianism remained os- 
tensibly the guiding principle of state and social mo- 
rality, Taoism had gathered a rich incrustation of my- 
thology and superstition and was fast winning a follow- 
ing of both the court and the common people. Laotzu, 
the founder of the religion, was claimed by the reign- 
ing dynasty as its remote progenitor and was honored 
with an imperial title. In 636 the Nestorian mission- 
aries were allowed to settle in Chang-an and erect their 
church. They were followed by Zoroastrians, and even 
Saracens who entered the Chinese capital with their 
sword in sheath. 

Thus Chang-an became not only the center of religious 
proselytism, but also a great cosmopolitan city where 
Syrians, Arabs, Persians, Tartars, Tibetans, Koreans, 
Japanese and Tonkinese and other peoples of widely 
divergent races and faiths lived side by side, presenting 
a remarkable contrast to the ferocious religious and 
racial strife then prevailing in Europe. Again, in 
Chang-an there were colleges of various grades, beside 
special institutes for caligraphy, arithmetic and music. 
Astronomy was encouraged by Tai Tsung, who also 
filled the imperial library with more than two hundred 
thousand books. Hsuan Tsung saw to it that there was 



a school in every village in the fifteen provinces of his 

Hsuan Tsung himself was regarded as a perfect prince, 
wise and valiant, a sportsman accomplished in all 
knightly exercises and a master of all elegant arts. 
Being a musician, he established in his palace an 
operatic school, called the "Pear Garden," at which 
both male and female actors were trained, and in which 
historians find the prototype of the modern Chinese 
drama. The emperor surrounded himself with a bril- 
liant court of poets, artists, and beautiful women. Odes 
were offered him by Li Po and Tu Fu ; Li Kuei-nien sang 
at his bidding, while Yang Kuei-fei, the loveliest of the 
three thousand palace ladies, ever accompanied his 
palanquin. Although in his latter years he indulged in 
all sorts of extravagant revelry, he was never vulgar. 
It is fitting that he is still remembered by the name 
of Ming Huang — the "Illustrious Sovereign." 

But in order to complete the picture of this era there 
is a darker side, which really brought into full play 
the spiritual energies of the Chinese race. Within, the 
court, from the very beginning of the dynasty, was upset 
more than once by the bloody intrigues of princes and 
princesses who coveted the imperial crown. Without, 
China had her Vandals and Goths and Franks, to whom 
her wealth and splendor offered irresistible temptation 
to pillage. The border warfare never ceased, and not 
without many a serious reverse for the imperial forces, 
which made forays in retaliation, often far into the 
hostile territories, losing their men by thousands. Tai 
Tsung's Korean expedition was nothing but a gigantic 
fiasco, and the conquest of that peninsula was completed 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

by generals of the Empress, Wu Hu. But in her reign 
the Kitans, a redoubtable foe, appeared on the northern 
border. In the west the restive and warlike Tibetans 
could not be wholly pacified by political marriages, 
in which the imperial princesses were bestowed on the 
barbarian chieftains from time to time. The armies of 
Hsuan Tsung were most unfortunate. In 751 thirty 
thousand men perished in the desert of Gobi; while in 
the campaigns in Yunnan against the southern barbar- 
ians the Chinese lost, it is said, two hundred thousand 
men. Finally came the rebellion of An Lu-shan, which 
like a storm swept the mid-imperial plains, drenched 
them in blood, and left the empire tottering on the brink 
of ruin. 

An Lu-shan was a soldier of the Kitan race, who dis- 
tinguished himself in fighting against his own tribes, 
and who won the favor of Yang Kuei-fei and the confi- 
dence of Hsuan Tsung. His promotion was rapid. He 
was ennobled as a duke, and made the governor of the 
border provinces of the north, where he held under com- 
mand the best armies of the empire and nursed an in- 
ordinate ambition, biding his time. Meanwhile at the 
court, the blind love of Hsuan Tsung for Yang Kuei-fei 
was corrupting the government. Her brother Yang 
Kuo-chung was appointed prime-minister, while eu- 
nuchs held high offices of state. At last in the spring of 
755, An Lu-shan, under the pretext of ridding the court 
of Yang Kuo-chung, raised the standard of rebellion. 
He quickly captured the city of Lo-yang, occupied the 
entire territory north of the Yellow River, comprising 
the provinces of Shansi and Chili, and was soon march- 
ing eastward on Chang-an. He had proclaimed him- 
self the Emperor of the Great Yen dynasty. 



"Is it possible!" exclaimed Hsuan Tsung, now an 
aged monarch, in amazement at the ingratitude of his 
vassal and at the impending catastrophe. The defense 
at the Pass of Tung Kwan collapsed. The emperor 
was forced to flee from the capital one rainy morning, 
with his favorite mistress and a handful of his faithful 
servants. The soldiers escorting Hsuan Tsung blamed 
Yang Kuo-chung for the disaster, and he and all his 
kin were massacred. Yang Kuei-fei herself did not es- 
cape. She was ruthlessly snatched from the arms of 
her imperial lover, and was strangled and buried on 
the roadside without ceremony. The emperor abdicated 
in favor of his son, and proceeded mournfully to 
Ssuchuan, the land of Shuh. 

The new emperor, Su Tsung, mustered a strong army 
under General Kuo Tsu-i to oppose the foes. Confusion 
was added by the revolt of Prince Ling, the sixteenth 
son of Hsuan Tsung, who challenged the authority of 
his brother from his stronghold in the southern prov- 
inces, though this uprising was promptly suppressed. 
An Lu-shan was driven from Chang-an in 757, and was 
shortly murdered by his own son, who was in turn killed 
by An Lu-shan's general, Shi Ssu-ming, another Kitan 
Tartar, who assumed the imperial title and retained the 
northern provinces in his iron grip. But Shi Ssu-ming 
himself was soon assassinated by his son, and the re- 
bellion came finally to an end in 762. We need not 
follow the history longer. In that very year the former 
emperor, Hsuan Tsung, who had returned from exile 
to a lonely palace in Chang-an, died, broken-hearted. 

Such was the era. It had, on the one hand, internal 
peace, prosperity, cosmopolitan culture, profuse hospi- 
talities and literary patronage; on the other, distant 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

wars, court intrigues and, finally, the national catas- 
trophe with its tragic drama of stupendous magnitude, 
that brought forth Li Po and his race of poets, kindled 
their imagination, and touched their heart-strings to im- 
mortal song. 


The ancestry of Li Po is traced back through the 
obscurity of many generations to Li Kao of the fifth 
century, who ruled the Liang State, or the western por- 
tion of what is now the province of Kansu. The family 
dwelt in exile for a period in the Mongolian desert land. 
The poet himself writes of his being "Originally a cot- 
ten-clothed of Lunhsi." That is to say, he was a plain 
citizen of a district in Kansu. But he was born, ac- 
cording to best authorities, in the adjoining land of 
Shuh, or the present Ssuchuan — that picturesque west- 
ern province of mountains and tumbling waters which 
flow into the great Yangtze-kiang. 

As to the year of his birth, biographers again differ. 
Some maintain it to have been as early as 699, while 
others would have it as late as 705, with consequent 
variation in his age, since he died, as all agree, in the 
year 762. A biographical calendar, compiled by Sieh 
Chung-yung of the Sung dynasty, places the poet's birth 
in the second year of the Shen-lung era; while another 
calendar by Wang-chi of the Ming dynasty, who edited 
the complete works of Li Po, fixes the year as the first 
of the Chang-an era. All evidence seems to favor the 
latter date, which falls in the year of 701. 

On the night of the poet's birth his mother dreamed 
of the planet of Chang-keng, which is Venus, and which 
is popularly known in China as the Tai-po Hsing, 



meaning literally the Great White Star, Thus it was 
that he was named Po (the White One), and surnamed 
Tai-po (the Great White One). Later he dubbed him- 
self the Green Lotus Man, borrowing the name from 
a Buddhist saint ; and sometimes went by the self-evident 
designation of the "Old Wine Genius." 

When a boy of six Li Po could read, and by the age 
of ten he had mastered the Confucian books of the Odes 
and the History and miscellaneous classics by a hundred 
writers, and was composing poems of his own. While 
he was still in his teens, he retired with a recluse by the 
name of Tunyen-tzu to the mountain of Min in north- 
ern Ssuchuan. Here the two men kept strange birds 
as pets and succeeded in taming them to feed from their 
hands, the report of which brought to their hermitage 
the local magistrate, who invited them to enter the 
government service. But they declined. Our young 
poet sang contentedly: 

For twenty springs I've lain among the clouds, 
Loving leisure and enamored of the hills. 

In 721 he traveled .down the Yangtze to Yun-meng, 
the land of seven moors, that lies to the north of the river 
and the Tung-ting Lake; here he was married to a grand- 
daughter of a certain ex-minister Hsu, and stayed there 
for three years. 

Then he moved up north to Shantung, and made his 
home in Jen-cheng and elsewhere. "I am thirty," he 
wrote to a friend, "I, make verses without tiring, while 
in front of my house carts and horses go by." Years 
passed without any visible achievement. One cannot 
blame too harshly his first wife who, impatient of the 
lack of his promotion, left him with the children. It 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

was during this period that he became one of the "Six 
Idlers of the Bamboo Valley" who gathered in the moun- 
tain of Chu-lai for the jolly fellowship of wine and 
song. He traveled extensively, too. Once he was in 
the city of Lo-yang, enjoying the lavish hospitality of 
Tung Tsas-chiu, who had a special wine house built for 
the poet at the Tien-tsin bridge-head, where 

Songs were bought with yellow gold, and laughter with 
white jewels. * 

Later the same host invited the poet to Ping-chou near 
Taiyuan-fu in Shansi, where Tung's father was stationed 
as the military commander. Here the two companions 
went on happy excursions, taking singing-girls out on 
the river by the dynastic shrine of Chin. It was in 
Ping-chou that the poet befriended Kuo Tsu-i, who was 
still a young soldier in the ranks, but who was later to 
become the savior of the empire as well as of the poet's 
life. In the year 738 Li Po was back in Shantung when 
Tu Fu, his one great and formidable rival in poetic 
fame, arrived in the province and met him. At once 
a warm friendship and exchange of poems began that 
lasted lifelong, and that makes the happiest and most 
memorable chapter in China's literary history. Tu Fu 
was the younger of the two. They slept together under 
one coverlet (so he tells us in one of his poems), and 
went hand in hand like two brothers. 2 

Li Po traveled south to the lands of Wu and Yueh 
of old to wander amid the ruins of once glorious pal- 
aces and among the lakes of lotus lilies, and chose to 

iSee No. 59 
2 See No. 127 



sojourn in a district called Yen, in Chehkiang, famous 
for the beauty of its hills and valleys. Here he met Wu 
Yun, scholar and Taoist, who on being summoned to 
court took Li Po with him to Chang-an, the capital of 
the empire. 

It was about the year 742 that Li Po entered Chang-an, 
the golden metropolis, when the long prosperous years 
of the Tien-pao era had just begun, and the court of 
Hsuan Tsung had reached the pinacle of brilliance. 
Li Po went to see Ho Chi-chang, a guest of the crown 
prince, and showed his poems. The jovial courtier was 
so pleased that he bartered his gold ornament for wine 
and entertained the new-comer. Moreover, he com- 
mended the poet to the emperor. "I have in my house," 
he said, "probably the greatest poet that ever existed. 
I have not dared to speak of him to your Majesty be- 
cause of his one defect, which is rather difficult to cor- 
rect: he drinks, and drinks sometimes to excess. But 
his poems are beautiful. Judge them for yourself, 
sire!" So saying, he thrust in Hsuan Tsung's hand a 
bundle of manuscript. "Fetch me the author of these 
poems!" spoke the emperor instantly — so runs one story. 

But according to other versions it was Wu Yun, or 
Princess Yu-chen, who introduced Li Po to the court. 
At any rate, the poet was given an audience in the Hall 
of Gold Bells. His discourse and ode at once won the 
admiration of the emperor, so that he feasted the poet 
at the Table of the Seven Jewels and assigned him to 
the Han-ling Academy. That is, Li Po was placed un- 
der imperial patronage, without any special duties but 
to write occasional poems, of which the ninth piece in 
the present book is an example. 

He banqueted with lords and ladies in and out of the 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

court, and sought frequently the taverns of the city. 
But who were his boon companions? A vivid portrayal 
of that much celebrated company, the "Eight Immortals 
of the Wine-cup," whose revels were the talk of 
Chang-an, is happily preserved for us in an equally cele- 
brated poem by Tu Fu. 

Chi-chang rides his horse, but reels 

As on a reeling ship. 
Should he, blear-eyed, tumble into a well, 

He would lie in the bottom, fast asleep. 
Ju-yang Prince must have three jugfuls 

Ere he goes up to court. 
How copiously his royal mouth waters 

As a brewer's cart passes by! 
It's a pity, he mournfully admits, 

That he is not the lord of Wine Spring. 
Our minister Li squanders at the rate 

Of ten thousand tsen per day; 
He inhales like a great whale, 

Gulping one hundred rivers; 
And with a cup in his hand insists, 

He loves the Sage and avoids the Wise. 
Tsung-chi a handsome youth, fastidious, 

Disdains the rabble, 
But turns his gaze toward the blue heaven, 

Holding his beloved bowl. 
Radiant is he like a tree of jade, 

That stands against the breeze. 
Su Chin, the religious, cleanses his soul 

Before his painted Buddha. 
But his long rites must needs be interrupted 

As oft he loves to go on a spree. 
As for Li Po, give him a jugful, 

He will write one hundred poems. 
He drowses in a wine-shop 


On a city street of Chang-an; 
And though his sovereign calls, 

He will not board the imperial barge. 
"Please your Majesty," says he, 
"I am a god of wine." 
Chang Hsu is a caligrapher of renown, 

Three cups makes him the master. 
He throws off his cap, baring his pate 

Unceremoniously before princes, 
And wields his inspired brush, and lo! 

Wreaths of cloud roll on the paper. 
Chao Sui, another immortal, elate 

After full five jugfuls, 
Is eloquent of heroic speech — 

The wonder of all the feasting hall. 

One day in spring Hsuan Tsung with Lady Yang 
Kuei-fei held a royal feast in the Pavilion of Aloes. 
The tree-peonies of the garden, newly imported from 
India, were in full flower as if in rivalry of beauty with 
the emperor's voluptuous mistress. There were the mu- 
sicians of the Pear Garden and the wine of grapes 
from Hsi-liang. Li Po was summoned, for only his 
art could capture for eternity the glory of the vanish- 
ing hours. But when brought to the imperial presence, 
the poet was drunk. Court attendants threw cold water 
on his face and handed him a writing brush. Where- 
upon he improvised those three beautiful songs 3 in rap- 
turous praise of Yang Kuei-fei, which were sung by the 
famous vocalist, Li Kuei-nien, while the emperor him- 
self played the tune on a flute of jade. 

But it was one of these very songs, 4 according to a 
widely accepted tradition, that helped cut short the gay 

3 See No. 6, 7, & 8. 

4 See No. 7 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

and prodigal career of the poet at the court. Kao Li- 
shih, the powerful eunuch, who had heen greatly humili- 
ated by having been ordered to pull off Li Po's shoes 
once as the latter became drunk at the palace, per- 
suaded Yang Kuei-fei that the poet had intended a ma- 
licious satire in his poem by comparing her with Lady 
Flying Swallow, who was a famous court beauty of the 
Han dynasty, but who was unfaithful and never attained 
the rank of empress. This was enough to turn gratitude 
to venomous hate, and Yang Kuei-fei interfered when- 
ever the emperor sought to appoint the poet to office. 
There is another tradition that Li Po incurred the dis- 
pleasure of Hsuan Tsung through the intrigue of a 
fellow courtier. This story is also plausible. Li Po 
was not the sort of man fitted for the highly artificial 
life of the court, where extreme urbanity, tact and dis- 
simulation, were essential to success. He soon ex- 
pressed a desire to return to the mountains; and the 
emperor presented him with a purse and allowed him to 
depart. He was then forty-five years old, and had so- 
journed in the capital for three years. 

Once more Li Po took to the roads. He wandered 
about the country for ten years, "now sailing one thou- 
sand li in a day, now tarrying a whole year at a place, 
enjoying the beauty thereof." He went up northeast 
to Chinan-fu of Shantung to receive the Taoist diploma 
from the "high heavenly priest of Pei-hai." He jour- 
neyed south and met Tsui Tsung-chi, the handsome Im- 
mortal of the Wine-cup, who had been banished from 
the capitol and was an official at the city of Nanking. 
The old friendship was renewed, and withal the glad 
old time. It is related that one moonlight night they 
took a river journey down the Yangtze from Tsai-hsi 



to Nanking, during which Li Po arrayed himself in 
palace robes and sat in the boat, laughing aloud, and 
rolling his frenzied eyes. Was it the laughter of wanton 
revelry, or of self-derision, or of haughty scorn at the 
foolish world that could not fathom his soul? In 754 
Wei Hao, a young friend of his, came to meet him at 
Kuang-ling, Kiangsu Province, and traveled with him 
a while. To him Li Po entrusted a bundle of his 
poems, saying, "Pray remember your old man! Surely 
in the future I'll acquire a great fame." 

Next year, in March of 755, we discover him fleeing 
from the city of Lo-yang amid the confusion of the war 
of An Lu-shan, whose troops occupied the city and made 
the waters of the Lo River flow crimson with blood. The 
poet went down to the province of Chehkiang, and finally 
retired to the mountains of Luh near Kiu-kiang in 
Kiangsi Province. When Li Ling, the Prince of Yung, be- 
came the governor-general of the four provinces near the 
mouth of the Yangtze, Li Po joined his staff. But the sub- 
sequent revolt and the quick fall of the Prince in 757 lead 
to imprisonment of the poet at the city of Kiu-kiang, with 
a sentence of death hanging over him. On examination 
of the case officials were inclined to leniency. One of 
them, Sung Ssu-jo, recommended the emperor not only 
to pardon Li Po but to give him a high place in the gov- 
ernment service. But the memorial, which by the way 
had been written by Li Po himself at Sung's direction, 
failed to reach its destination. Then Kuo Tsu-i, now a 
popular hero with his brilliant war record, came to 
the rescue; he petitioned that Li Po's life might be ran- 
somed with his own rank and title. The white head of 
the poet was saved, and he was sentenced to perpetual 
banishment at Yeh-lang — the extreme southwest region 


Ld Po the Chinese Poet 

of the empire covered by the present province of Yun- 

He proceeded westward up the river leisurely. There 
seems to have been little pressure from the central gov- 
ernment, certainly no inclination on the part of the 
poet, to expedite the journey. At Wu-chang he was wel- 
comed by the local governor Wei, with whom he spent 
months and climbed the Yellow Crane House three times. 
Further up he encountered Chia-chi, his former compan- 
ion at Chang-an, and Li Hua, a kinsman of his. These 
two had also been demoted and dismissed from the 
capital. The three luckless men now joined in a boat 
party more than once on the Tung-ting Lake under the 
clear autumn moon. That these were not so lugubrious 
affairs after all is attested by their poems. 6 After such 
delays and digressions Li Po sailed up the Yangtze 
through the Three Gorges and arrived in Wu-shan, Ssu- 
chuan, in 759, when amnesty was declared. 

It was as if warmth enlivened the frozen vale, 
And fire and flame had sprung from dead ashes. 6 

The old poet started homeward, resting a while at 
Yo-chou and Chiang-hsia, and returning to Kiu-kiang 
again. He visited Nanking once more in 761; and next 
year went to live with his kinsman, Li Yang-ping, who 
was magistrate of Tang-tu, the present city of Taiping 
in Anhwei. Here in the same year he sickened and died. 

A legend has it that Li Po was drowned in the river 
near Tsai-shih as he attempted, while drunken, to em- 
brace the reflection of the moon in the water. This was 

5 See No. 52, 121, 122, & 128. 

6 See No. 124 



further elaborated into a tale, which was translated by 
Theodore Pa vie. This story, quoted by d'Hervey Saint 
Denys, is altogether too beautiful to omit. I retrans- 
late the passage from the French: 

"The moon that night was shining like day. Li Tai-po 
was supping on the river when all of a sudden there 
was heard in the mid-air a concert of harmonious voices, 
which sounded nearer and nearer to the boat. Then, 
the water rose in a great tumult, and lo! there appeared 
in front of Li Tai-po dolphins which stood on their 
tails, waving their fins, and two children of immortal- 
ity carrying in their hands the banners to indicate the 
way. They had come in behalf of the lord of the 
heavens to invite the poet to return and resume his 
place in the celestial realm. His companions on the 
boat saw the poet depart, sitting on the back of a dol- 
phin while the harmonious voices guided the cortege .... 
Soon they vanished altogether in the mist." 

As to Li Po's family and domestic life the curiosity 
of the western mind has to go unsatisfied. The Chinese 
biographers never bother about such trivialities of a 
man's private affairs. The Old and the New Books of 
Tang are both totally silent. Only in his preface to 
the collection of the poet's works Wei Hao remarks: 

fi4 Po first married a Hsu and had a daughter and a son, 
who was called the Boy of the Bright Moon. The 
daughter died after her marriage. Po also took to wife 
a Liu. The Liu was divorced, and he next was united 
to a woman of Luh, by whom he had a child, named 
Po-li. He finally married a Sung." 

Hsu, Liu, and Sung are all family names of the women 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

who were successively married to Li Po. Of his several 
poems extant, addressed to his "wife," it is difficult to 
tell just which one is meant in each case. From a poem 7 
written to his children we learn that the girl's name was 
Ping-yang, and the son whom Wei Hao refers to by the 
unusual nickname of the "Boy of the Bright Moon," was 
called Po-chin. Of the third child, Po-li, mentioned by 
Wei Hao, there is no reference elsewhere. Po-chin died 
without having obtained any official appointment in 793. 
His one son wandered away from home; while his two 
daughters were married to peasants. 

Although Li Po had expressed his desire of making the 
Green Hill at a short distance southeast of Taiping-fu 
his last resting place, he was buried at the "East Base" 
of the Dragon Hill. His kinsman, Li Hua, wrote the 
inscription on his tombstone. Twenty-nine years after 
the poet's death a governor of Tang-tu set up a monu- 
ment. But by the second decade of the ninth century 
when another £reat poet, Po Chu-i, came to visit the 
grave, he found it in the grass of a fallow field. About 
the same time Fan Chuan-cheng, inspector of these dis- 
tricts, discovered the "burial mound three feet high, fast 
crumbling away"; he located the two grandaughters of 
Li Po among the peasantry, and on learning the true 
wish of the poet, removed the grave to the north side of 
the Green Hill and erected two monuments in January 

of 818. 


The Old Book of Tang says that Li Po "possessed a 
superior talent, a great and tameless spirit, and fantasti- 

* See No. 63 



cal ways of the transcendent mind." In modern termi- 
nology he was a romanticist. 

Like Wordsworth he sought the solitude of hills and 
lakes. But he was a lover rather than a worshipper of 
Nature. He was "enamored of the hills," he says. To 
him the cloud-girt peak of Luh Shan, or the hollow glen 
of autumn, was not a temple but a home where he felt 
most at ease and free to do as he pleased — where he 
drank, sang, slept, and meditated. He spent a large 
part of his life out of doors, on the roads, among the 
flowering trees, and under the stars, writing his innumer- 
able poems, which are the spontaneous utterances of his 
soul, responding, to the song of a mango bird or to the 
call of far waterfalls. And his intimate Nature-feeling 
gained him admission to a world other than ours, of 
which he writes: 

Why do I live among the green mountains? 

I laugh and answer not. My soul is serene. 

It dwells in another heaven and earth belonging to no 

man — 
The peach trees are in flower, and the water flow9 

on. . . . 

Taoism with its early doctrine of inaction and with 
its later fanciful superstitions of celestial realms, 
and supernatural beings and of death-conquering herbs 
and pellets fascinated the poet. Confucian critics, eager 
to whitewash him of any serious Taoistic contamination, 
declare that he was simply playing with the new-fangled 
heresy. But there is no doubt as to his earnestness. 
"At fifteen," he writes, "I sought gods and goblins." 
The older he grew, the stronger became the hold of 



Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Taoism on his mind. In fact, the utilitarian principle 
of Confucian ethics was alien both to his temperament 
and to the circumstances of his life. The first thing he 
did after his dismissal from the court was to go to Chi- 
nan-fu and receive the Taoist diploma from the high 
priest of the sect, "wishing only (says Li Yang-ping) to 
return east to Peng-lai and with the winged men ride to 
the Scarlet Hill of Immortality." Peng-lai is the para- 
disical land of the Taoist, somewhere in the eastern sea. 
The poetry of Li Po reflects the gleams of such visionary 
worlds. His "Dream of the Sky-land," 8 rivaling Kubla 
Khan in its transcendent beauty and imaginative power, 
could not have been written but by Li Po, the Taoist. 
Even in superstition and opium there is more than a 
Confucian philosophy dreams of. 

But mysticism and solitude filled only one half of the 
poet's life. For he loved dearly the town and tavern — 
so much so that he is censured again by moralists as hav- 
ing been sordid. Li Po not only took too hearty an in- 
terest in wine and women, but he was also scandalously 
frank in advertising his delight by singing their praise in 
sweet and alluring terms. In this respect Li Po, like so 
many of his associates, was a thorough Elizabethan. Had 
the Eight Immortals of the Wine-cup descended from 
their Chinese Elysium to the Mermaid Tavern, how happy 
they would have been with their doughty rivals in song, 
humor, wit, capacity for wine, and ardent and adventur- 
ous, if at times erratic, spirit! 

Li Po "ate like a hungry tiger," says Wei Hao, who 
should know; while according to another authority, "his 
big voice could be heard in heaven." In his early youth 
he exhibited a swashbuckling propensity, took to er- 

s See No. 77 



rantry, and learned swordmanship, and even slashed 
several combatants with his cutlass. 

"Though less than seven feet in height, I am strong 
enough to meet ten thousand men," he boasted. It i9 
hardly necessary, however, to point out the rare and 
lovable personality of the poet, who made friends with 
everybody — lord or prince, Buddhist or Taoist, courtier 
or scholar, country gentlemen or town brewer; and 
addressed with the same affectionate regard alike the em- 
peror in the palace and the poor singing-girl on the 
city street of Chang-an. 

In his mature age Li Po, despite his natural inclina- 
tion and temperament, cherished the normal Chinese am- 
bition to serve the state in a high official capacity and 
try the empire-builder's art. 9 It was with no small an- 
ticipation that he went to the court and discoursed on the 
affairs of the government before the emperor. But he 
was only allowed to write poems and cover hig vexations 
with the cloak of dissipation. Later when amid the 
turmoil of the civil war he was called to join the pow- 
erful Prince of Yung, his aspirations revived, only to be 
smothered in the bitterness of defeat and banishment. 
The last few years of his life were pathetic. Broken in 
spirit and weary with the burden of sorrow and age, but 
with his patriotic fervor still burning in his heart, he 
watched with anxiety the sorry plight of his country. 

In the middle of the night I sigh four or five times, 
Worrying ever over the great empire's affairs. 

The rebellion of An Lu-shan and its aftermath were 
not wholly quelled till the very year of the poet's death. 

8 See No. 79, & 124. 


La Po the Chinese Poet 

Then, there was the inevitable pessimism of the old 
world. The thought of the evanescence of all temporal 
things brought him solace for life's disappointments, and 
at the same time subdued his great tameless spirit. The 
Chinese race was already old at Li Po's time, with a ret- 
rospect of milleniums on whose broad expanse the dy- 
nasties of successive ages were like bubbles. What 
Shakespeare came to realize in his mellowed years 
about the "cloud-capt towers and gorgeous palaces," was 
an obsession that seized on Li Po early in life. Thus it 
is that a pensive mood pervades his poetry, and many of 
his Bacchanalian verses are tinged with melancholy. 
Even when he is singing exultantly at a banquet table, his 
saddest thought will out, saying "Hush, hush! All 
things pass with the waters of the east-flowing river." 





My ship is built of spice-wood and has a rudder of mu- 

Ian; \* 

Musicians sit at the two ends with jeweled bamboo flutes 
and pipes of gold. 

What a pleasure it is, with a cask of sweet wine 

And singing girls beside me, 

To drift on the water hither and thither with the waves! 

I am happier than the fairy of the air, who rode on his 
yellow crane. 

And free as the merman who followed the sea-gulls aim- 

Now with the strokes of my inspired pen I shake the 
Five Mountains. 

My poem is done, I laugh and my delight is vaster 
than the sea. 

Oh, deathless poetry! The songs of Chu-ping are ever 
glorious as the sun and moon, 

While the palaces and towers of the Chu kings have 
vanished from the hills. 

Yea, if worldly fame and riches were things to last for- 

The waters of the River Han would flow north-westward, 

The poet is in his typical mood. The poem is a 
manifesto of his happy triumphant existence of free- 
dom and of sensual and poetical indulgence. 

Mu-lan is the name of a precious wood. 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Chu-ping, or Chu Yuan, 882-295 B. C, was a loyal 
minister under Huai-wang, the ruler of the Chu state. 
He is celebrated for his poems, which include the famous 
Li Sao. 

The river Han is a large tributary of the Yangtze, 
which originates in Shensi and flows southwestward 
through Hupeh, joining the main stream at Hankow. 




Naked I lie in the green forest of summer. . . . 

Too lazy to wave my white feathered fan. w 

I hang my cap on a crag, ~ 

And bare my head to the wind that comes J-*"* 

Blowing through the pine trees. ^ 





Blue water ... a clear moon . . . 
In the moonlight the white herons are flying. 
Listen! Do you hear the girls who gather water-chest- 
They are going home in the night, singing. 



The white clouds float over the mountains of Chu- 

As over the mountains of Chin. 

Everywhere the white clouds will follow you on. 

They will follow you on everywhere — 
With you they will enter the Chu mountains, 
And cross the waters of the Hsiang. 

Yonder across the waters of the Hsiang, 

There is a cloak of ivy to wear, 

And you may lie in a bed of white clouds. 

Go swiftly home, my friend! 




Fair one, when you were here, I filled the house with 

Fair one, now you are gone — only an empty couch is 

On the couch the embroidered quilt is rolled up; I can- 
not sleep. 

It is three years since you went. The perfume you left 
behind haunts me still. 

The perfume strays about me forever, but where are 

you, Beloved? 
I sigh — the yellow leaves fall from the branch, 
I weep — the dew twinkles white on the green mosses. 





The glory of trailing clouds is in her garments, 

And the radiance of a flower on her face. 

O heavenly apparition, found only far above 

On the top of the Mountain of Many Jewels, ~^fR 

Or in the fairy Palace of Crystal when the moon is up! W°J 

Yet I see her here in the earth's garden — ^_ 

The spring wind softly sweeps the balustrade, 

And the dew-drops glisten thickly. . . . 

As to the occasion on which these songs were com- 
posed, see the Introduction. 

The Mountain of Many Jewels is the abode of the 
fairy queen, Hsi-wang-mo; the Palace of Crystal is an- 
other such fabled home of beautiful spirits. 




;*. She is the flowering branch of the peony, 
**\ Richly-laden with honey-dew. 

Hers is the charm of the vanished fairy, 
"~~ 33 That broke the heart of the dreamer king 
™N In the old legend of the Cloud and Rain. 
j- m Pray, who in the palace of Han 
Could be likened unto her, 
Save the lady, Flying Swallow, newly-dressed 
In all her loveliness? 

The Legend of Cloud and Rain: King Hsiang of Chu 
once in his dream saw a fairy maid whose loveliness 
captivated his heart instantly, and who, on being asked 
who she was, replied, "In the morning I ami the cloud, 
in the evening the rain on the Wu mountains,*' and van- 
ished. The amorous king pined for the cloud and rain, 
morning and evening ever after. 

Chao Fei-yen or Lady Flying Swallow, was a sing- 
ing girl of Chang-an, but her charm won the love of the 
emperor Cheng-ti of the Han dynasty, who took her up 
to the palace and made her an imperial concubine of 
the highest rank. She is famous for her frail beauty. 
It is said that she was of so slight a build that she 
could dance on the palm of the hand. She lived in the 
1st century fi. C. 





She stands, leaning against the balustrade ^ 

Of Chen-hsiang Ting, the Pavilion of Aloes. ^\ 
Vanquished are the endless longings of Love „ 

Borne into the heart on the wind of spring. Ty*3 
The radiant flower and the flowery queen rejoice together, 
For the emperor deigns to watch them ever with a J~ m 








4fe ?vl The east wind blowing, the grass of Ying-chow is green ; 
• *. The spring-sweetness is about the purple palaces and 
-fjfr^T crimson towers. 

A& "58 ^ e w ^^ ows on tne south of the pond have turned half- 
*% green, 

*g"* xe They grow like delicate wreaths of mist 
±*-£fc By the resplendent castle, 

^-rS^ij^b Their thread-like branches, one hundred feet long, 
'jfc, Wangling about the carved and painted pillars. 

While high above the sweet birds sing melodiously to- 
gether — 
They sing with hearts stirred early by the spring wind, 
Which rolls itself in the blue clouds and dies. 

The voice of spring is heard all over — 
By a thousand gateways and by ten thousand doorways. 
At Hao-king, where my lord, the emperor, tarries, 
Five colored clouds are brightening 
Against the lucid purple of the sky. 
The imperial cortege comes forth, agleam in the sun. 
Coming forth from the golden palace, 
The imperial car bedecked with jewels 
Glides along the path of flowers, 



Poem Composed at Imperial Command 

First turning to the Peng-lai Garden, 

Where cranes are seen gracefully dancing, 

Then, returning to the garden of Yi-shih, 

Where the first songs of nightingales are heard — 

They sing high among the trees, 

Desiring to mingle their notes with the mouth-organs, 

And join the imperial concert of the phoenix- flutes. 

Hao-king is an old name for Chang-an, the capital, 


I hear the Tsang-tsung road 
Is rough and rugged, and hard to travel. 
It is so steep that the mountains rise 
In front of the rider's face, 
And the clouds gather about the horse's head. 
But there you will find the plank-highway of Chin 
Canopied in fragrant foliage, 
And the sweet water of springtime 
Flowing around the city wall of Shuh. 
Go, my friend! Our destiny's decided. . . . 
You need not bother to ask Chuan-ping, the fortune- 

Tsan-tsung is one of the mythical rulers of Shuh, 
or the present Ssuchuan. 

Chuan-ping was a fortune teller of Chengtu under the 
Han dynasty. As soon as he had earned a hundred 
pence, he would close his shop and busy himself with 
writing books. 




When the hunter sets traps only for rabbits, 
Tigers and dragons are left uncaught. jM*" 

Even so, men of blue-cloud ambition remain unsought, ~*HT 
Singing aloud at the door of their rocky den. ^ly 

My friend, Han, you are rare and profound; ' 

Pei, you possess a true clean breast; Xr 

And Kung, you, too, are an excellent man; ^T^ 

And all you three are lovers of cloud and mist. 

Your stout and straight souls 

Are loftier than the loftiest pine. 

A flat boulder for a bed, you sleep together under one 

cover; <<< 

You hack the ice and sip water from the winter stream; J^i 
You own two pairs of shoes to wear among you three. 

Once wandering as you please ^. 

Like the vagrant clouds, -yg 

You came out of the mountains to greet the governor. ~" a ^— 
Indifferently you wore cap and mantle a while, ^*-l 

Whistling long. 

Last night you dreamed of returning to your old haunt, 
And enjoying, you say, the moon of the Bamboo Valley. 
This morning outside the east gate of Luh 
We spread the tent and drink the farewell cup. 

Be careful as you go! 

The cliffs are snowy, and your horses may slip; 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

And the road of tangled vines may perplex you. 
Pray remember, 

My thoughts of longing are like the smoke grass, 
That grows always in profusion, winter or spring! 

The three friends were Han Chun, Pel Cheng, and 
Kung Chao-fu, all of whom were members of the "Six 
Idlers of the Bamboo Valley." These men were return- 
ing to the mountains after a brief and unsuccessful offi- 
cial career under the local governor, and Li Po wrote 
this parting poem. 



Here! is this you on the top of Fan-ko Mountain, 
Wearing a huge hat in the noon-day sun? 
How thin, how wretchedly thin, you have grown! 
You must have been suffering from poetry again. 

In contrast with Li Po, who depended largely on in- 
spiration, Tu Fu was a painstaking artist careful of the 
minutest details. 




Whence these twelve peaks of Wu-shan! 
*Xj Have they flown into the gorgeous screen 
From heaven's one corner? 


Ah, those lonely pines murmuring in the wind! 
t£_ Those palaces of Yang-tai, hovering yonder — 

Oh, the melancholy of it! — 
aU- Where the jeweled couch of the king 
— ~* m With brocade covers is desolate, — 

His elfin maid voluptuously fair 

Still haunting them in vain! 


•W Here a few feet 
gy Seem a thousand miles. 
/ji~ The craggy walls glisten blue and red, 

A piece of dazzling embroidery. 
jjfev ^ ow S reen those distant trees are 

Round the river strait of Ching-men! 

And those ships — they go on, 

Floating on the waters of Pa. 

The water sings over the rocks 

Between countless hills 

Of shining mist and lustrous grass. 

How many years since these valley flowers bloomed 
To smile in the sun? 
And that man traveling on the river, 
Hears he not for ages the monkeys screaming? 


On a Picture Screen 

Whoever looks on this, 

Loses himself in eternity; 

And entering the sacred mountains of Sung, 

He will dream among the resplendent clouds. 

The screen was owned by his Buddhist friend, Yuan 
Tan-chiu, to whom Li Po has written innumerable poems. 
See No. 99. 

The Wu-shan peaks are along the Yangtze gorges in 
Ssuchuan. The second stanza refers to the Legend of 
the Cloud and Rain. See the note under No. 7, 





fe£*m The waterside city stands as in a picture scroll. 
•^ The sky is lucid above the mountain shrouded in 
l"ir> evening gloom, 

JSm, While the waters on either hand shine like mirrors; 
•It5r *^ wo P amte d bridges span them like rainbows dropt 
W\i from the sky. 

The smoke from the cottages curls up around the citron 

And the hues of late autumn are on the green paulow- 

3 t ^ 1 ° ever ^ reame ^ °f m y coming hither to the North 
To brood over the memory of Prince Hsieh, while the 
wind blows in my face? 


The North Tower was built by Hsieh Tiao of the 5th 
century, a statesman and a poet of South Chi dynasty. 
It is located in the city of Hsuan-cheng, Anhwei. 


I dare not speak aloud in the silence, 
For fear of disturbing the dwellers of heaven 

The temple is in a district in Hupeh, so isolated from 
the outside world that this poem of Li Po, written on a 
painted board and left on the beams of the ceiling, re- 
mained unmolested for centuries until it was discovered 
by a local magistrate, thus settling a dispute over its au- 
thorship which had arisen in the meantime, some attri- 
buting the poem to a certain Yang, who was born mute — 
the story runs — but on being taken to a high tower one 
day when he was only a boy of a few years, composed 
and uttered this poem, of which the first line reads: 

"A precipitous tower, one hundred feet high!** 

To-night I stay at the Summit Temple. ^y 

Here I could pluck the stars with my hand, -$* 

f r\are» rtr\t enpnlr nlrnirl in tine*. RliPTirP.- '" 


Here friends come, sorrowing, to say farewell, 
j£i„ O Lao-lao Ting, tavern where every heart must ache. 
Aj Here even the wind of spring knows the pain of parting, 
^ And will not let the willow branches grow green. 

The tavern was situated on a hill-top just outside the 
city of Nanking; and people seeing their friends off 
came as far as this place to exchange parting cups. 

The last line alludes to the Chinese custom of break- 
ing off a willow branch and presenting it to a departing 



A lovely woman rolls up 

The delicate bamboo blind. *i_ 

She sits deep within, fR 1 

Twitching her moth eyebrows. ^ 

Who may it be 

That grieves her heart? 

On her face one sees 

Only the wet traces of tears. 





The dew is white upon the staircase of jewels, 

And wets her silken shoes. The night is far gone. 

She turns within, lets fall the crystal curtain, 

And gazes up at the autumn moon, shining through. 



The water of the River Pa is swift like an arrow; » 

The boat on the River Pa slips away >C* 

As if it had wings. „ \ 

It will travel in ten days three thousand li. ~%&\ 

And you are going, my dear — "* 
Ah, how many years before you return? 

Pa is the eastern region of Ssuchuan, traversed by 
the swift flowing Yangtze. 





She is a southern girl of Chang-kan Town; 
Her face is prettier than star or moon, 
And white like frost her feet in sandals- 
She does not wear the crow-head covers. 

In these poems Li Po records what he saw of the 
"southern" girls in Kiangsu and Chehkiang. These 
provinces were under the king of Yueh in the 5th and 
6th centuries, B. C, 

Chang-kan is near the city of Nanking, and was at 
Li Po's time inhabited by the lower class of people. 

The crowhead covers are a kind of shoes worn by the 
upper-class women of the north. So named on account 
of their shape and very small size — small feet seem to 
have been already at a premium. "It is interesting," 
remarks a native critic demurely, "to note Li Po's ad- 
miration for a barefoot woman." 



Many a girl of the south is white and lucent. 

Often she will steer her shallop and play. ^ A-* 

In her coquettish eyes -^ 

Lurks the lure of the spring-time. ~*«n 

She will pluck the flowers of the water pp] 
For amorous wayfarers. 



She is gathering lotus in the river of Yeh. 

She spies a passer-by, and turns round, 

Singing her boat song. 

She laughs, and hides away among the lilies; 

And seeming shy, she will not show her face again. 



She, a Tung-yang girl, stands barefoot on the bank, 

He, a boatman of Kuei-chi, is in his boat. <^£f~~ 

The moon has not set. -^^ 

They look at each other — broken-hearted. ^^\ 



The water of the Mirror Lake 

Is clear like the moon. 

The girl of Yeh-chi 

Has a face white as snow. 

Her silvery image 

Trembles in the silvery ripple. . • • 



It was at a wine party — 

I lay in a drowse, knowing it not. 

The blown flowers fell and filled my lap. 

When I arose, still drunken, 

The birds had all gone to their nests, 

And there remained but few of my comrades. 

I went along the river — alone in the moonlight. 



The mountain of Hsien looks down on the Han River; 
| T -5r ^ e water * 9 klue and its sand shines like snow. 
' ^ There on the mountain top stands the Monument of 

Long weathered and covered up with green mosses. 

The Mountain of Hsien is in Hupeh, near the city of 
Hsiang-yang. Once in the reign of the Chint dynasty 
(3rd century), Yang Hu, the governor of this district, a 
man of benevolence, climbed the mountain to view the 
fair landscape below. Amid the feasting and verse- 
making, the governor turned to his companions and said: 
"This mountain has stood here since the beginning of 
the world; and many famous men of virtue and wisdom 
have come up to this spot, as we ourselves. Now they 
are all gone and forgotten. Soon we, shall be, too." 
So saying, he shed tears. Later the people erected a 
monument there. It is this that Li Po found "covered 
up with green mosses." 




I saw the moonlight before my couch, 
And wondered if it were not the frost on the ground, jfc? 
I raised my head and looked out on the mountain moon; ^J^ 
I bowed my head and thought of my far-off home. 



Blue is the water and clear the moon. 

He is out on the South Lake, 

Gathering white lilies. 
j4^ The lotus flowers seem to whisper love, 
fQ / And fill the boatman's heart with sadnes9. 




Flocks of birds have flown high and away; ^ 
A solitary drift of cloud, too, has gone, wandering on. jfr 
And I sit alone with the Ching-ting Peak, towering be- 
yond, ^l 
We never grow tired of each other, the mountain and I. pJa^ 


The Ching-ting mountain is situated to the north of 
the city of Hsuan-cheng, Anhwei. 



^J^ Yonder the mountain flowers are out. 
T We drink together, you and I. 

ll'feL ^ ne more CU P — one more CU P — st iM one more cup! 
-y"~v~ Now I am drunk and drowsy, you had better gc. 

But come to-morrow morning, if you will, with the harp ! 



The autumn moon is half round above the Yo-mei 

Mountain; K?i 

Its pale light falls in and flows with the water of the 

Ping-chiang River. t .| t 

To-night I leave Ching-chi of the limpid stream for the 

Three Canyons, 
And glide down past Yu-chow, thinking of you whom 

I can not see. 

This is one of the most famous poems in all Chinese 
literature; and it is needless to say that the translation 
does a gross injustice to the original verse, which com- 
bines the beauty of a fluent language with the wealth 
of charming associations that the proper names possess, 
which, by the way, take up 12 of the 28 ideographs that 
compose the whole poem. 

The mountain and stream are all located in Ssuchuan. 




They meet in the pink dust of the city street. 
He raises his gold crop high in salute. 
"Lady," says he, "where do you live? 
"There are ten thousand houses among the drooping 
willow trees." 



So, old man, you're down where the yellow waters flow. \^ 
Well, I imagine you are still brewing the "Old Spring- 
time." Jh^fe 
But since there's no Li Po on the Terrace of Night, ,v ^sj 
To what sort of people do you sell your wine? ±£ 


A Chinese tradition has it that in Hades there is a 
spring, whose water is yellow. ' IThe Ye llow Spring" 
in Chinese has long become a proper name, referring to 
the world beyond. 

"Terrace of Night" is another Chinese phrase for 
the land of the dead. 

"The Old Springtime," a brand of rice wine. The 
Tang people named their rice wine frequently after the 
season of spring. Tu Fu mentions a "Rice Spring" 



rj> 34. TO HIS WIFE 



Three hundred sixty days a year 

Drunk I lie, like mud every day. 

Though you're married to Tai-po, wife, 

You might as well have been the Tai-chang's spouse. 

Tai-chang is the title of a religious officer in the gov- 
ernment of the Han dynasty. Here a Tai-chang of the 
latter Han dynasty is alluded to, who was noted for 
liis wine-bibbing propensity. 




I have not turned my steps toward the East Mountain 

for so long. *p 

I wonder how many times the roses have bloomed s^\> 
there. ... ^ 

The white clouds gather and scatter again like friends. \j~* 

Who has a house there now to view the setting of the 
bright moon? 

The East Mountain (Tung Shan), in Chehkiang. 
Hsieh An, the poet-governor of the Jfth century under 
the Chin dynasty, whom Li Po admired immensely, had 
resided here. 




The Northern Dipper has turned round in the sky, 
iJ *t And now hangs over the west tower. 
4 In the Golden House there are none 
v.. Save the fireflies sailing the gloom, 
I ^ While the moonlight falls 

Into the Palace of Long Gate, 
— And deepens still more the sorrow of one in the secret 

Lady Chen who was queen to Wu-ti, a Han emperor, 
lost his favor and was left in the solitude of the Long 
Palace Gate to pine alone. Later at the imperial harem 
of China, the "Sorrow of the Long Gate'* became a 
stock-phrase and served as a title for love poems of 
grief under similar circumstances. 

The Northern Dipper, i. e. Ursa Major. 

The Golden House always refers to a palace for the 
fair sea;. 



The glad spring goes unattended 

At the laurel bower where sorrow is long; 

But on the four walls of gold 

The autumn dust clings like grief; 

And night holds the bright mirror up in the emerald 

For the lonely one in the Palace of Long Gate. 





Came an amorous rider, 

Trampling the fallen flowers of the road. 

The dangling end of his crop 

Brushes a passing carriage of five-colored clouds. 

The jeweled curtain is raised, 

A beautiful woman smiles within — 

"That is my house," she whispers, 

Pointing to a pink house beyond. 


39. TO WANG LUN a ^ 

I was about to sail away in a junk, ♦* 

When suddenly I heard 7/3L 

The sound of stamping and singing on the bank — f 

It was you and your friends come to bid me farewell. > j 
The Peach Flower Lake is a thousand fathoms deep, ^i^n*" 
But it cannot compare, Wang Lun 
With the depth of your love for me. 

The Peach Flower Lake is the name of the water as 
well as of the village on its shore. Here Li Po spent 
some time, enjoying the hospitality of Wang Lun who 
had always a supply of good wine. At the departure 
of the poet the host came out to the waterside to bid 
farewell in the manner described in the poem. 




GSL <fch- ^y friend bade farewell at the Yellow Crane House, 

)y{ ^v And went down eastward to Willow Valley 

rf- %& Amid the flowers and mists of March. 

fs^J^Zr The lonely sail in the distance 

-^ Vanished at last beyond the blue sky. 

a ^» And I could see only the river 

Flowing along the border of heaven. 

The Yellow Crane House stood till a recent date not 
far from the city of Wu-chang, Hupeh, on a hill 
overlooking the Yangtze-hiang. 

Once upon a time a dead man of Shuh, traveling on 
the bach of a yellow crane, stopped here to rest. Hence 
the name of the house. 

There is another interesting story just as authentic, 
according to which: there stood here a tavern kept by a 
man whose name was Chin, to whom one day a tall 
rugged professor in rags came and asked very compla- 
cently, "I haven* t money, will you give me wine?" 
The tavern keeper was game; he readily offered to thb 
stranger the biggest tumbler and allowed him to help 
himself to all the wine he wanted day after day for 
half a year. At last the professor said to Chin, "I owe 
you some wine money. I'll pay you now." So saying, 
he took lemon peels and with it smeared on the wall a 
picture of a yellow crane, which at the clapping of his 
hands came to life and danced to the tune of his song. 


On Seeing Off Meng Hao-Jan 

The spectacle soon brought a fortune to the tavern- 
keeper; he became a millionaire. Then, the professor 
left, flying away on his bird, whither no one knew. 
The grateful tavern-keeper built the tower-house in 
commemoration thereof, and called it the Yellow Crane 

Willow Valley (Yang-chow), in Kiangsu. 



fo j3ll I call myself the Green Lotus Man; 

I am a spirit exiled from the upper blue; 

^^ *" For thirty years I've hid my fame in wine shops. 

\ ^ho Warrior of Lake Province, why must you ask about me? 

'°J Behold me, a reincarnation of the Buddha of Golden 
y v ^ Grain! 

2Vie Warrior of Lake Province happened to be a 
Buddhist and the speaker of the assembly of his sect. 
Hence, Li Po's witticism in referring to the Buddhist 




Why do I live among the green mountains? 
I laugh and answer not, my soul is serene: 
It dwells in another heaven and earth belonging to no 

The peach trees are in flower, and the water flows 





V& The breeze passes through the lotus flowers — 
y^L All fragrance is the waterside pavilion. 
^y The king of Wu is feasting on the Ku-su Tower. 
^Zf*- Hsi-shih, the queen, flushed with wine, dances — 
She is fair and unresisting. 
Now, smiling, she leans near the east window 
Against a couch of white jade. 


Hsi-shih (5th century B. C.) was queen to Fu Ckai, 
the king of Wu, and is one of the most famous court 
beauties of China. Her dalliance cost the king hi* king- 
dom as well as his life. 



The delicious wine of Lan-ling is of golden hue and * 

flavorous. w* 

Come, fill my precious glass, and let it glow in amber! ' 

If you can only make me drunk, mine host, it is enough; q~"T" 
No longer shall I know the sorrow of a strange land. 

Lan-ling, in Shantung. 




In the deserted garden among the crumbling walls 
-^* The willows show green again, 
*Jg_ While the sweet notes of the water-nut song 

Seem to lament the spring, 
tjfe Nothing remains but the moon above the river — 
JM. The moon that once shone on the fair faces 

That smiled in the king's palace of Wu. 

The Ku-su Palace is where King Fu-chai of Wu with 
his beautiful queen Hsi-shih held perpetual revelries till 
King Kou Chien of Yueh annihilated him. It was lo- 
cated in the present city of Soo Chow, which was the 
capital of Wu. See No. £3. 




Hither returned Kou Chien, the King of Yueh, in tri- x£* 

umph; ,  

He had destroyed the kingdom of Wu. */u 

His loyal men came home in brilliance of brocade, S* 

And the women of the court thronged the palace 

Like flowers that fill the spring — 

Now only a flock of patridges are flying in the twilight. 

See Nos. 44 an d 4&- 



At dawn I left the walled city of White King, 
Towering among the many colored clouds; 
And came down streanf in a day 
One thousand li to Chiang-ling. 
The screams of monkeys on either bank 
Had scarcely ceased echoing in my ear 
When my skiff had left behind it 
Ten thousand ranges of hills. 


The White King City is in Ssuchuan, and Chiang-ling 
in Hupeh. The distance between the two places is 
several hundred miles, but the river flows so swiftly 
that the down stream journey may be accomplished in a 



Came the barbarian horde with the autumn; 

Out went the imperial army from the House of Han. __ 

The general has divided the tiger tallies, N 

And the dunes of White Dragon are now 

The camping ground of the brave. 

The moon in the wilderness 

Follows the movement of his bow, 

And upon his sword the desert frost blossoms. 

He has not even entered this side of the Jewel Gate 

But do not heave a long sigh, little wife! 

These poems tell the longing and the sorrow of young 
wives, whose husbands are fighting the barbarians in a 
distant land — a common theme for Tang poets. 

The tiger tallies were used as a means of army regis- 
tration. These were distributed among the soldiers 
prior to their departure for the front, while the counter" 
parts were preserved at the headquarters. 

The Jewel Gate Pass in western Kansu was located, 
according to the old Chinese geography, 8600 li west of 





He rides his white charger by the Fortalice of Gold, 
^ She wanders in dreams amid the desert cloud and sand. 
r It is a season of sorrow that she scarce can endure, 
Thinking of her soldier lover at the border fort. 
The fireflies, flitting about, swarm at her window, 
While the moon slowly passes over her solitary bower. 
The leaves of the green paulonia are tattered; 
And the branches of the sha-tung blasted and sere. 
There is not an hour but she, alone, unseen, 
Weeps — only to learn how futile all her tears are. 




When a little child, 

She was reared in a golden house, 

Now ripe and lovely, she dwells 

In the imperial palace of purple. *_ 

She will come forth from the innermost chamber, *T3~ 

A mountain flower in her glossy hair, 

Robed in pink embroidered silk; $& 

And always return at evening, 

Accompanying the imperial palanquin. _^.__ 

Only, alas! — the hours of dance and song prp 

Swiftly vanish into the sky 

To tint, perhaps, the flying clouds in happy colors! 

One of the eight poems entitled "Palace Pleasures" 
which Li Po composed during his sojourn at the court. 
They describe the voluptuous life of Hsuan Tsung with 
Yang Kuei-fei. 



Faring far across the river-narrow of Ching-men 

I have come with you into the land of Chu. 

Here ends the mountain-range that stretches along the 

While the river flowing on, enters the distant heavens. 
Now under the moon like a mirror flying through the 

And the rising clouds that build palaces and towers, 
I bid you farewell. Ten thousand li you sail away, 
But it is the waters of the home river that bear you on. 



Here from this tower we may view 
The whole fair region of Yo-yang, 
And the winding river 
Opening into the Tung-ting Lake. 

wild geese, flying past, ^ ^ 

Take away with you the sorrow of the heart! ~ <►, 

And, come, thou mountain, give us thy happy moon! 'a^* 

Here will we sit to feast 

And tarry a while with the clouds 

And pass the cup high above the world of cares. 


When we are goodly warm with wine, 

Then, thou cooling breeze, arise! vfcJjL 

Come and blow as we dance! r^v" 

And our sleeves will flap like wings. 

The Yo-yang Tower is situated in Yo-chou, Hunan 

The poem was probably written while on his way to 
Yeh-lang, the place of his banishment. (See Nos. 121 
and 122) 





El Life is an immense dream. Why toil? 

All day long I drowse with wine, 
And lie by the post at the front door. 
Awakening, I gaze upon the garden trees, 
jLj And, hark, a bird is singing among the flowers. 

>Q^ Pray, what season may this be? 

>_ Ah, the songster's a mango-bird, 

^ Singing to the passing wind of spring. 

I muse and muse myself to sadness, 
Jh Once more I pour my wine, and singing aloud, 

*^££ Await the bright moonrise. 

My song is ended — 
What troubled my soul? — I remember not. 



With a jar of wine I sit by the flowering trees. 

I drink alone, and where are my friends? 

Ah, the moon above looks down on me; 

I call and lift my cup to his brightness. 

And see, there goes my shadow before me. 

Hoo! We're a party of three, I say, — 

Though the poor moon can't drink, 

And my shadow but dances around me, 

We're all friends to-night, 

The drinker, the moon and the shadow. 

Let our revelry be meet for the spring time! 

I sing, the wild moon wanders the sky. 
I dance, my shadow goes tumbling about. 
While we're awake, let us join in carousal; 
Only sweet drunkeness shall ever part us. 
Let us pledge a friendship no mortals know, 
And often hail each other at evening 
Far across the vast and vaporous space! 





Do you not see the waters of the Yellow River 
•/i Come flowing from the sky? 

«^*i- The swift stream pours into the sea and returns never* 
^^-- more. 

V gl Do you not see high on yonder tower 

A white-haired one sorrowing before his bright mirror? 

In the morning those locks were like black silk, 

In the evening they are all snow. 

Let us, while we may, taste the old delights, 

And leave not the gold cask of wine 

To stand alone in the moonlight! 

Gods have bestowed our genius on us; 

They will also find its use some day. 

Be not loath, therefore, to spend 

Even a thousand gold pieces! Your money will come 

Kill the sheep, slay the ox, and carouse! 
Jruly you should drink three hundred cups in a round! 

Come, Chin, my friend! 

Dear Tan-chiu, too. 

To you I offer wine, you must not refuse it. 

Now I will sing a snatch of song. Lend ear and 

hearken ! 
Little I prize gongs and drums and sweet-meats, 
I desire only the long ecstasy of wine, 
And desire not to awaken. 


An Exhortation 

Since the days of old, the wise and the good 

Have been left alone in their solitude, 

While merry drinkers have achieved enviable fame. 

The king of Chen would feast in ancient days 

At his Palace of Peace and Pleasure; 

Ten thousand measures of wine there were, 

And reckless revelry forever. 

Now let you and me buy wine to-day! 

Why say we have not the price? 

My horse spotted with five flowers, 

My fur-coat worth a thousand pieces of gold, 

These I will take out, and call my boy 

To barter them for sweet wine. 

And with you twain, let me forget 

The sorrow of ten thousand ages! 



The grass of Yen is growing green and long 
£Q While in Chin the leafy mulberry branches hang low. 
/^v£ Even now while my longing heart is breaking, 

Are you thinking, my dear, of coming back to me? 

— wind of spring, you are a stranger, 
Why do you enter through the silken curtains of my 




In the twilight of yellow clouds 

The crows seek their nests by the city wall. 

The crows are flying home, cawing — ^^C 

Cawing to one another in the tree-tops. 

Lo, the maid of Chin-chuan at her loom c»jX* 

Weaving brocade, — for whom, I wonder? "Tp 

She murmurs softly to herself ' 

Behind the blue mist of gauze curtain. 

She stops her shuttle, and broods sadly, 

Remembering him who is far away — 

She must lie alone in her bower at night, 

And her tears fall like rain. 

The theme of this poem is a well-known story of a 
young wife, who was left alone in Chang-an by her hus- 
band while he lived in another city with his mistress. 
The deserted wife composed poems of her love and fi- 
delity, and weaving them into a piece of brocade, sent 
it to her husband, who was so moved thereby that he 
called her to his side and lived with her in happiness 
ever after. 

Chin Chuan is an old name of Chang-an. 




I like you, my friend, Meng, 

Your love of beauty is something known 

To everybody under heaven. 

When young with red cheeks, 

You cast aside your carriage and cap; 

Now that your head is white, 

You lie among the pine trees and the clouds. 

You get drunk with the moon 

As often as with the transparent wine; 

And to the honor of serving the emperor 

You prefer the rapture of blossoms. 

Your nobility looms up like a high mountain, 

Too high for others to attain to; 

But they may breathe the rare fragrance 

That your soul imparts. 

Meng Hao-jan was a native of Hupeh and a poet of 
no mean reputation, ranking next to Li Po and Tu Fu 
in the entire galaxy of the poets of the glorious Tang 
period. He died in 7^0. 



Tung Tsao-chiu of Lo-yang, friend, '^ 

I remember the good old time. 

You built me a wine house to the south of the Tien- 
chin Bridge 

Songs were bought with yellow gold, and laughter with \^Pf 
white jewels. 

Months went by in one long lasting rapture; we scorned JJ; 
kings and princes. 

Wise and valiant men from all shores were there as 
your guests. > 

Among them I was your special friend, you had my 
heart's devotion. 

For you I would not have declined to uproot mountains 
and overturn the sea. 

To you I bared my heart and soul without hesitation. 

I journeyed to Hwai-nan to dwell in the laurel grove; 
You remained in the north of Lo, with many sad dreams. 
The separation was more than we could bear, 
So we met again and went together. 

We went together a long way to Hsien-cheng 
Through the thirty-six turns of the river, winding round 

and round, 
And amid the voices of the pine wind over the innum- 
erable cliffs, 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Which having ceased — lo! 
We burst into a valley—into the light of a thousand 

There on the level ground with their horses of golden 

reins and silver saddles 
Stood the governor of Han-tung and his men, who had 

come to meet us. 
The Taoist initiates of Tzu-yang welcomed us, too, blow- 
ing on their jeweled bamboo pipes. 
They took us on the Tower of Mist- Feasting, — what a 

music there stirred! 
Such celestial notes! It seemed all the sacred birds 

of heaven sang together. 
With those pipes playing, our long sleeves began to 

flap lightly. 
At last the governor of Han-chung, drunken, rose and 

It was he, who covered me with his brocade robe; 
And I, drunk too, chose his lap for pillow and went 

to sleep. 
During the feast our spirits soared high over the ninth 

But ere the morning we were scattered like stars and 

Scattered hither and thither, the Pass of Chu separating 

us wide, 
As I sought my old nest in the mountains, 
And you returned to your home across the Bridge of 


Your honorable father brave as leopard and tiger 
Became the governor of Ping-chow then. 


To Tung Tsao-Chiu 

And stopt the barbarian invasion. 

In May you called me and I crossed the mountain of 

My cart wheels were broken on the steep passes, winding 

like sheep guts; but that did not matter. 

I traveled on and came to Pe-liang and stayed for 

What hospitality! What squandering of money! 
Red jade cups and rare dainty food on tables inlaid 

with green jems! 
You made me so rapturously drunk that I had no 

thought of returning. 

Oft we went out to the western edge of the city, 

To the Temple of Chin, where the stream was clear as 

Where on a skiff afloat we played with water and made 
music on pipes and drums; 

Where the tiny waves looked like dragon-scales — and 
how green were the reed in the shallows! 

Pleasure-inspired, we took singing girls and gaily sailed 
the stream up and down. 

How beautiful are their vermilioned faces, when half- 
drunken, they turn to the setting sun, 

While the willow flakes are flying about them like snow, 

And their green eyebrows are mirrored in the clear 
water one hundred feet deep! 

And comelier still are the green eyebrows when the new 

moon shines. 
The beautiful girls sing anew and dance in robes of 

thin silk. 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Their songs, lifted by the zephyr, pass away in the 

But the sweet notes seem to linger in the air, hovering 

about the wandering clouds. 

The delight of those days cannot be had again. 
I went west and offered my Ode of the Long Willows, 
But to my skyey ambition the imperial gates were closed. 
I came back to the East Mountain, white-headed. 

I met you once more at the south end of the Bridge 

of Wei; 
But once more we parted company north of Tsan-tai. 
You ask me the measure of my sorrow — 
Pray, watch the fast falling flowers at the going of 

I would speak, but speech could not utter all, 
Nor is there an end to my heart's grief. 
I call my boy and bid him kneel down and seal this 

And I send it to you a thousand miles, remembering. 

This poem was written shortly after Li Po's depart- 
ure from the capital, and tells of the companionship and 
excursions the poet had enjoyed with Tung Tsao-chiu 
before his going to the court. He is now a disappointed 
man, wandering over the country. See the Introduction. 

Tung Tsao-chiu was a military official at Chiao dis- 
trict in northern Anhwei not very far from the city of 

Ping-chou, in central Shansi. The dynastic temple 

To Tung Tsao-Chiu 

of Chin is located near the city of Taiyuan-fu. This 
locality was also called Pe-Liang. 

The Ode of the Long Willows was composed by the 
celebrated scholar and philosopher, Yang-Hsiung (B. C. 
63 — A.D. 18) of the Han dynasty. Here Li Po re- 
fers metaphorically to his own verse. The passage tells 
of his failure at the court. 




Blue mountains lie beyond the north wall; 

Round the city's eastern side flows the white water. 
yt7 Here we part, friend, once forever. 

You go ten thousand miles, drifting away 

Like an unrooted water-grass. 
/\ Oh, the floating clouds and the thoughts of a wanderer! 

Oh, the sunset and the longing of an old friend! 

We ride away from each other, waving our hands, 

While our horses neigh softly, softly. . . . 


61. MAID OF WU oo 

Wine of the grapes, ^ 

Goblets of gold — -• -*• 

And a pretty maid of Wu — ^J*^\ 

She comes on pony-back: she is fifteen. 

Blue-painted eyebrows — 

Shoes of pink brocade — 

Inarticulate speech — 

But she sings bewitchingly well. 

So feasting at the table 

Inlaid with tortoise shell, 

She gets drunk in my lap. 

Ah, child, what caresses 

Behind lily-broidered curtains! 




In the deep sequestered stream the lotus grows, 

Blooming fresh and fair in the morningl sun. 

Its glowing petals hide the clear autumn water, 

And its thick leaves spread like blue smoke. 

Alas! in vain its beauty excels the world. 

Who knows? Who will speak of its rare perfume? 

Lo, the frost will come, chilling the air, 

And its crimson must wither, its fragrance fade. 

Ill it has chosen the place to plant its root. 

Would it could move to the margin of a flower pond! 

An obvious metaphor, reminding one of that flower 
which "wastes its sweetness in the desert air." Suck 
poems were popular and accorded a high regard by the 
Chinese scholars, who relish greatly the moral mean- 
ings that they themselves read into the simple folk songs 
in the Book of Odes compiled by Confucius. Li Po has 
left us a few scores of these allegorical poems, and it is 
these that Li Yang-ping in his Preface speaks of so 
highly. See Appendix II. 



In the land of Wu the mulberry leaves are green, 

And thrice the silkworms have gone to sleep. 

In East Luh where my family stay, 

I wonder who is sowing those fields of ours. 

I cannot be back in time for the spring doings, 

Yet I can help nothing, traveling on the river. 

The south wind blowing wafts my homesick spirit 

And carries it up to the front of our familiar tavern. 

There I see a peach tree on the east side of the house 

With thick leaves and branches waving in the blue 

mist. ^2 

It is the tree I planted before my parting three years -"T[ 

The peach tree has grown now as tall as the tavern 

While I have wandered about without returning. 
Ping-yang, my pretty daughter, I see you stand 
By the peach tree and pluck a flowering branch. 
You pluck the flowers, but I am not there — 
How your tears flow like a stream of water! 
My little son, Po-chin, grown up to your sister's 

You come out with her under the peach tree, 
But who is there to pat you on the back? 
When I think of these things, my senses fail, 
And a sharp pain cuts my heart every day. 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Now I tear off a piece of white silk to write this letter, 
And send it to you with my love a long way up the river. 

Written from Nanking during his southern travels 
prior to his journey to the court of Chang-an. His 
family lived in East Luh, a central part of Shantung. 



It is June when the south wind blows the white sand, „ *> 

And the oxen pant under the moon, their gusty breath \**\)$k 

turning to mist. ^ 

The lowland air is humid and suffocating, and it is *5fi-^- 

hard to bear. _1» 

There is no coach on the long road in the burning heat, -^p 

What do you think of going by way of the river? m ^ m 

You leave for Chin-ling, hoisting your sail high to the 'i^J^V 

breeze. -^ 

Your parents are waiting and watching for you, leaning fi%?'& 

against the gate. ^"§f 
In Luh-chung there is the home of your childhood. 

My family live for the time at the Sand Hill; 

I have not returned for three years, and they are dis- 

Please, go and see them! — You know Po-chin, my boy. 

He must be running his toy cart and riding on the back 
of a white sheep. 

Written about the same time as No. 68. 

The poet is near Chin-ling: — that is, Nanking. In 
this southern region the oxen are so afraid of the scorch- 
ing sun that they pant, it is said, even at the sight of the 

Luh-chung is a district, and Sand Hill a town, in 
Shantung. See No. 80. 





To wash and rinse our souls of their age-old sorrows, 
^>^ We drained a hundred jugs of wine. 
A splendid night it was. . . . 
/£*. In the clear moonlight we were loath to go to bed, 
Ht But at l ast drunkenness overtook us; 
^ And we laid ourselves down on the empty mountain, 
^ The earth for pillow, and the great heaven for coverlet. 



The living is a passing traveler; 

The dead, a man come home. ~iz* 

One brief journey betwixt heaven and earth, ^ 

Then, alas! we are the same old dust of ten thousand 

The rabbit in the moon pounds the medicine in vain; 

Fu-sang, the tree of immortality, has crumbled to kin- 
dling wood. 

Man dies, his white bones are dumb without a word 

When the green pines feel the coming of the spring. 

Looking back, I sigh; looking before, I sigh again. 

What is there to prize in the life's vaporous glory % 

According to Chinese folklore there is a rabbit in the 
,moon, which is pounding the elixir of life. 



Swallows, two by two, — always two by two. 
^- A pair of swallows are an envy for man. 
d£?L Such a pair lived together once in a jeweled palace- 
& tower. 

:Jy^ Long they lived together by the gilded window with 
silken curtains. 

Then fire swept the royal tower. 

The swallows entered the Palace of Wu and made their 

But once more fire burned the palace down. 
Burned away the swallow nest and all the younglings. 
Only did the mother bird escape death; she is worn 

with grief. 
Poor lonely swallow, she longs for her mate that is 

Never again, can the two fly together. 
And that pierces my little heart with sadness. 

Another allegorical poem. A commentator says that 
this is a fable of Li Po's own life, he with his hopes and 
ambitions being compared with the mother swallow with 
her mate and younglings. The first palace, then, would 
allude to the court of Hsuan Tsung; and the second 
palace to that of the Prince of Yung. 


A river town. The autumn rain has stopt. 

Our wine is gone. So, farewell! 

While you lie idle in your boat, 

Your sail flies down homeward over the waves, 

Past the islands burning red with flowers, 

Past the slender willows, green on the river strand. 

What of me after parting? I know not — 
I'll go back, perhaps, to my old fishing rock on the 






I am a peach tree blossoming in a deep pit 
Who is there I may turn to and smile? 
You are the moon up in the far sky; 
Passing, you looked down on me an hour; then went 
on forever. 

^ A sword with the keenest edge,* 

Could not cut the stream of water in twain 
So that it would cease to flow. 

My thought is like the stream; and flows and follows 
you on forever. 

These two stanzas are taken from a poem written by 
Li Po in behalf of his wife, expressing her sentiment to- 
ward himself. 



Up the river by the White King City, 

The water swells and the wind is high. 

It is May. Through the Chu-tang gorge 

Who dares to sail down to me now — 

Down to Ching-chow, where the barley is ripe 

And the silk worms have made their cocoons — 

Where I sit and spin, with my thoughts of you 

Endless as the silken strands? 

The cuckoo calls high up in the air. Ah, me! 

The White King City is in Ssuchuan. The Chu-tang 
gorge, situated near Wushan in the same province, is 
one of the most dangerous spots in the Yangtze kiang. 
Further down the river and in Hupeh, Ching-chow is 
located, where the silk spinner awaits her lover. 



Chuang Chou in dream became a butterfly, 

And the butterfly became Chuang Chou at waking. 

Which was the real — the butterfly or the man? 

Who can tell the end of the endless changes of things? 

The water that flows into the depth of the distant sea 

Returns anon to the shallows of a transparent stream. 

The man, raising melons outside the green gate of the 

Was once the Prince of the East Hill. 
So must rank and riches vanish. 
You know it, still you toil and toil, — what for? 

Chuang Chou. A famous philosopher of the 3rd and 
4-th centuries B. C, who was an ardent follower of Lao- 
tzu, the founder of Taoism. Chuang Chou y s writing 
contains a chapter on his becoming a butterfly in a 



Alas, Chao of Nippon — you who left the Imperial City 

To sail the waters where the fabled islands are! 

Alas, the bright moon has sunk into the blue sea never- 
more to return, 

And gray clouds of sorrow fill the far skies of the 


Chao is the Chinese name adopted by a Japanese, Abe 
Nakamaro, who, on arriving from Japan, was so fas- 
cinated with the brilliant court and city of Chang-an, 
that he chose to remain in China all his life. Once he 
sailed for home, but his ship encountered a storm and 
was blown to the south coast of China. At the first re- 
port of the mishap his friends at Chang-an believed that 
he was dead, and threnodies were composed, of which 
this poem by Li Po was one, 


The green spring — and what time? 

The yellow bird sings and will not cease. 

On the bank of the Kiang I am growing old, white- 

My homeward way lies lost beyond the horizon. 

Though my thoughts fly into the clouds of Chin, 

I remain with my shadow under the moon of Chu. 

My life is a wasted thing, 

My garden and fields have long been buried under 

What am I to do so late in my years 

But sing away and let alone the imperial gate of gold? 



Alas! how precipitous! Alas! how high! 

The road to Shuh is more difficult to climb than to climb 
the steep blue heaven. 

In the remotest time of Tsang-tsung and Yu-fu — 

Yea, forty milleniums ago — that land was founded. 

Yet from the wall of the Middle Kingdom runs no high- 
way thither, no highway linking human dwel- 

Only a lone precipitous path — the bird-way — was built, 

Leading westward toward the evening star, 

And trailing across the forehead of the Yo-mei moun- 

And how those strong men died, traveling over! 

The earth sunk and the mountains crumbled. 

At last there is now a road of many ladders and bridges 
hooked together in the air. 

Lo, the road-mark high above, where the six dragons 
circle the sun! 

Lo, the stream far below, winding forth and winding 
back, breaks into foam! 

The yellow crane could not fly over these mountain- 

And the monkeys wail, unable to leap over these gorges. 

How the Green Mud path turns round and round! — 
There are nine turns to each hundred steps. 

The traveler must climb into the very realm of stars, 
and gasp for breath; 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Then draw a long sigh, his hands on his breast. 

Oh, why go you west, I pray? And when will you 

I fear for you. You cannot clamber over these jutting 

You shall see nothing by day but the birds plaining bit- 
terly on the aged trees, the female following the 

male in their flight; 
You shall hear no voice but the cuckoos calling in the 

moonlight by night, calling mournfully in the 

desolate mountains. 
The road to Shuh is more difficult to climb than to climb 

the steep blue heaven. 
A mere story of it makes the youth's red face grow pale. 
The lofty peaks shoot up cloudward in rows. If one 

foot higher, they would touch the heaven. 
The dead pine trees cling to the cliff, hanging headmost 

over the abyss. 

The sparkling cascades and the spurting torrents vie 
with one another to make the bellowing din. 

Anon, a giant boulder tumbles from the crag-head; a 
thousand mountain walls resound like thunder. 

you wayfarers from afar, why do you come hither on 
this direful road? 

The gate of the Sword Parapet stands firm on its fright- 
ful height. 

One man defending it, a thousand men could not break 
it open. 

And the keepers of the gate are not of your kin, 

They may turn, I fear, to wolves and leopards. 

The Steep Road to Shuh 

Fleeing at morn before the savage tigers, 

Fleeing at eve before the huge serpents, 

Men are killed and cut up like hemp, 

While the beasts whet their fangs and lick the blood. 

Though many pleasures there may be in the brocade 

city of Shuh, 
It were better to return to your house quickly. 
The road to Shuh is more difficult to climb than to climb 

the steep blue heaven. 
I shrug my shoulders and heave a long sigh — gazing 

into the west. 

This is one of the most admired and most difficult 
poems of Li Po, certain portions of it being as vague as 
they are beautiful. Some commentators maintain that 
this was written at the time of the An Lu-shan rebellion, 
when the emperor Hsuan Tsung fled to Ssuchuan, to 
which course Li Po was opposed; but being in no posi- 
tion to declare his opinion openly, the poet voiced it 
thus in verse covertly. The poem hints at the double 
danger for the emperor in leaving his capital to the 
rebels who are tigers and serpents as well as in trusting 
his person to the hands of the strangers of Shuh, who 
might turn to wolves and leopards, while it dwells for 
the most part on the difficulty of the journey in a re- 
markably vivid and forceful language. The Road to 
Shuh runs from Shensi to Ssuchuan over the mountains. 

As to those "strong men'* that died, there is this story: 
Some thousands of years ago, a prince in Shensi, know- 
ing the fondness of the king of Shuh, offered him his 
five daughters for wives. The king of Shuh despatched 
five strong men to fetch the princesses. It was on their 
homeward journey that the party saw a big serpent 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

crawling into a hole in the mountainside. One man 
tried to pull out the serpent by its tail, but could not 
do so. All the five men joined in the enterprise, and 
yelling aloud, they pulled the serpent, whereupon the 
whole mountain range crumbled and was split into five 
peaks. The five strong men and the five princesses and 
all the attendants perished. 




The wind blows the willow bloom and fills the whole 

tavern with fragrance 
While the pretty girls of Wu bid us taste the new wine. 
My good comrades of Chin-ling, hither you have come y 

to see me off. * 

I, going, still tarry; and we drain our cups evermore. ^V 
Pray ask the river, which is the longer of the two — wkfS& 
Its east-flowing stream, or the thoughts of ours at part- 





Here once on the Phoenix Bird Tower the phoenix birds 
A>. came to nest. 

/$£> Now the birds are gone, and the tower empty; only the 

river flows aimlessly on. 
Here where the garden of Wu palace bloomed, the deep 

grass hides the paths; 
Where the kings of Chin vaunted their regalia, is only 

an old hill. 
I see the three peaks hang aloft as though half-dropt 

from the sky, 
And the river divide in two streams, holding the White 

Heron Island between. 
But the floating clouds cover the sun, 
And the city of Chang-an is lost in distance and gloom. 

The Phoenix Bird Tower was situated to the north of 
Nanking, once the capital of Wu, Chin, and many other 
states. A legend has it that three birds of five-colored 
wings, resembling the peacock, nestled here once, and 
they sang so melodiously that all other birds of the 
vicinity were attracted to the tower. Those three birds 
were the Phoenix. 




The sea-farers tell of the Eastern Isle of Bliss, 
It is lost in a wilderness of misty sea waves. 

But the Sky-land of the south, the Yueh-landers say, ^ 
May be seen through cracks of the glimmering cloud, jp^ 

This land of the sky stretches across the leagues of \^jf> 

heaven ; J*y& 

It rises above the Five Mountains and towers over the J 

Scarlet Castle, VHf^ 

While, as if staggering before it, the Tien-tai Peak 

Of forty-eight thousand feet leans toward the southeast. y>7] 

So, longing to dream of the southlands of Wu and Yueh, ^y 1 
I flew across the Mirror Lake one night under the moon. Jh j 

The moon in the lake followed my flight, 

Followed me to the town of Yen-chi. 

Here still stands the mansion of Prince Hsieh. 

I saw the green waters curl and heard the monkeys' 

shrill cries. 
I climbed, putting on the clogs of the prince, 
Skyward on a ladder of clouds, 
And half-way up from the sky-wall I saw the morning 

And heard the heaven's cock crowing in the mid-air. 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Now among a thousand precipices my way wound round 

and round; 
Flowers choked the path; I leaned against a rock; I 


Roaring bears and howling dragons roused me — Oh, 
the clamorous waters of the rapids! 

I trembled in the deep forest, and shuddered at the over- 
hanging crags, one heaped upon another. 

Clouds on clouds gathered above, threatening rain; 

The waters gushed below, breaking into mist. 

A peal of blasting thunder! 
The mountains crumbled. 
The stone gate of the hollow heaven 
Opened wide, revealing 
A vasty realm of azure without bottom, 
Sun and moon shining together on gold and silver 

Clad in rainbow and riding on the wind, 
The ladies of the air descended like flower-flakes; 
The faery lords trooping in, they were thick as hemp- 
stalks in the fields. 

Phoenix birds circled their cars, and panthers played 

upon harps. 
Bewilderment filled me, and terror seized on my heart. 
I lifted myself in amazement, and alas! 
I woke and found my bed and pillow — 
Gone was the radiant world of gossamer. 

So with all pleasures of life. 
All things pass with the east-flowing water. 

His Dream of the Sky-Land 

I leave you and go — when shall I return? 

Let the white roe feed at will among the green crags, 

Let me ride and visit the lovely mountains! 

How can I stoop obsequiously and serve the mighty 

It stifles my soul. 

In this poem the poet describes his dream of visiting 
Mt. Tien-mu, "Fostermother of the shies" in Chehkiang. 
The other mountains, Chi-Cheng, the "Scarlet Castle," 
and Tien-tai, the "Terrace of Heaven" are located in 
the same province. 

Prince Hsieh is the one poet-governor mentioned in 





(The poet mourns Ho Chi-chang) 

Ssu-ming had a man of madness, 

Ho Chi-chang, frenzied with wind and stream. 

The first time I met him at Chang-an, 

He called me "a god in exile." 

O dear lover of the cup, 

He has turned the sod under the pine tree — 

He who bartered his gold turtle for wine. 

Now, alone, I shed tears, remembering him. 

Ho Chi-chang. The jovial courtier who introduced 
Li Po to Hsuan Tsung. Ssu-ming, a district in Cheh- 
hiang, was his ancestral home, to which he retired and 
where he died. See the Introduction, also No. 125. 

The gold turtle was probably a trinket of some sort, 
worn as an ornament. 



(The poet departs from Nan-ling for the capital) v 

Home in the mountains in autumn-tide IssL 

Of new-brewed wine and yellow chick fattened on grain. ^^^ 
I call the boy to boil the fowl and pour the white wine, p/| 
While my children, playing noisily about, tug me by A? -J 

the sleeve. 
I sing and imbibe the bland ecstasy of the cup ; 
I rise and dance in the tangled beams of the setting sun. 

It is not too late to win a lord of ten thousand chariots. 
Let me ride and spur my horse on the long, long road! 

The silly woman of Kuei-chi may scorn Chu Mai-chen, " ' ^ 
I take leave of my family and journey west to Chin. ^5 
Looking up at the sky, I laugh aloud and go. % ' 

Ha, am I one to crawl ever in the dust-laden weeds? 

Chu Mai-chen. Died B. C. 116. A wood-cutter un- 
der the Han dynasty, whose wife left him because she 
could not endure poverty. By diligent study, however, 
he became governor of Kuei-chi in Chehkiangj and his 
wife, who had sunk to destitution, begged to be allowed 
to rejoin him. But he replied, "If you can pick up 
spilt water, you may return"; whereupon his wife went 
and hanged herself — Giles: Biographical Dictionary 
No. 65. 

It is quite likely that the poet by the "silly woman 
of Kuei-chi" alludes to his own wife, who had left him 
because of his poor success in life. 


Why have I come hither, after all? 

Solitude is my lot at Sand Hill City. 

There are old trees by the city wall, 

And busy voices of autumn, day and night. 

The Luh wine will not soothe my soul, 

Nor the touching songs of Chi move me; 

But all my thoughts flow on to you 

With the waters of the Min endlessly southward. 



If heaven loved not tKe wine, 

A Wine Star would not be in heaven; 

If earth loved not the wine, 

The Wine Spring would not be on the earth. 

Since heaven and earth love the wine, 

Need a tippling mortal be ashamed? 

The transparent wine, I hear, 

Has the soothing virtue of a sage, 

While the turgid is rich, they say, 

As the fertile mind of the wise. 

Both the sage and the wise were drinkers, 

Why seek for peers among gods and goblins?, 

Three cups open the grand door to bliss; 

Take a jugful, the universe is yours. 

Such is the rapture of the wine, 

That the sober shall never inherit. 




It is autumn near and far. 
Outside the gate all the hills are barren. 
A white cloud, my old friend, 
Beckons me from far empyreal space. 
Pray, when will Luh Chen-ho come back- 
He who has flown west like a crane? 

A native commentator remarks: "This poem would 
be better if the last two lines and the title were left 



Shake not your crown, if perfumed; 

Nor flap your garment, if spiced with Ian! ^tfL 

It is better to hide the chaste soul's radiance, ^£2^ 

The world hates a thing too pure. 

There goes the fisherman of Tsang-lang. -J 

Await me, old man, I will go with you. 



The flow-tide ebbs back to sea. 
My friend returned to Wu from banishment. 
I asked him about the sorrows of exile. 
His tears fell like pearls of the South Sea. 



On the river margin of Jo-yeh she is gather- * ' 

ing the lotus; *£ 

She talks to her companions and laughs * < 
among the lilies. 

The clear sunlit water reflects her gay attire, ^> 

And her perfumed sleeves flap lightly in the \&/ 

But who are these cavaliers on the bank? 
By twos, by threes, they glint through the 

drooping willows; 
Their horses neigh among the blown flowers, 

and are gone. 
She sees and lingers with an anguish in 

her heart. 

The Jo-yeh River is in Chehkiang, and flows into 
Ching Hu, or the Mirror Lake. 


You had a yellow steed, 
Mine was white. 
Their colors differed, 
Our hearts were one. 

We two gay blades of Lo-yang, 

Rode the city street, side by side, 

Flaunting our high head-gears gallantly, 

Our long swords glancing in the sun. 

Each had a fur coat on, worth a thousand guilders; 

Both were guests of the five princes. 

Now you have fallen as a tiger falls in a trap-hole; 
And suffer miserably as strong men must sometimes. 
But when you, my comrade, are so distressed, 
What avails me if I alone can flourish? 




With her limpid voice, 
Her pearly teeth revealing, 
The northern maid, the prettiest child, 
Sings "Downy grasses," instead of "Blue water." 
Then, brushing her face with her long sleeve, she rises 
for your sake. 

She dances like the winter-cloud that curls over the 

frothy sea; 
She dances like the wild fowl of Tartary, wind-blown 

toward the sky. 

The kingly hall is full of radiant faces; the pleasure 

will not end. 
With sundown the flute sounds thicken, and the mellow 

voices of the singing girls. 



Oh, the Rover of Chao with his Tartar-fashioned cap, 
^r> A scimitar on his side, gleaming bright like the snow, 
T>w. The silver saddle glittering on his white horse, 
^^ Behold, he comes and is gone like a shooting star; 

</ Tj Kills a man at every ten paces as he goes, 

And goes he a thousand miles without stopping. 

The deed done, he shakes his raiment and departs — 

None knows whither, nor even his name. 

He stops at leisure and drinks with Prince Hsin-ling, 
Laying his drawn sword across his knee; 
Picks up a piece of roast meat for Chu-hai to eat; 
Offers a goblet of wine to Hou-ying to drink; 

After three rounds gives a pledge of fealty, 

And weightier is his vow even than the Five Mountains. 

When his ears are hot and his eyes burn, 

His heroic soul blazes forth like a rainbow. 

A hammer in his hand saved the kingdom of Chao, 
And the whole city of Han-tan shook with terror. 
How the glory of two such strong men shines 
For a thousand autumns over the ramparts of Tai-Liang! 

Sweet honor perfumes their heroic bones, 
Putting to shame the literati of the world, 

The Rover of Chao 

Who can only recline in the study 
And whiten their heads over books like the Tai-hsuan 

Wu Chi was the name of Prince Hsin-ling of the Wei 
state in the 3rd century B. C. 

Hon Ying was a recluse through whom Prince Hsin- 
ling obtained the service of Chu Hai, who was a rover of 
the type depicted in the present poem. When the state 
of Chao was attached by a hostile state and its capital 
Han-tan was beleaguered, Hsin-ling and Chu Hai went 
to the rescue. Chu Hai — a very strong man — brained an 
irresolute general with a heavy hammer, while, by taking 
command of his army, Hsin-ling raised the siege of 

Tai-liang was the capital of the State of Wei. 

Tai-hsuan Ching. A learned booh written by 
Yang Hsiung (B. C. 58-A. D. 18). 
[129] ' 


When the brazen Tartars came with their frightened 
horses kicking up dust and sand, 

While the Tartar horde watered their horses in the Tien- 
chin River, 
^ You, governor of Chang-yeh, then, resided near Wine 

I, banished nine thousand li, was in the land of Pa. 


When the world was put to order, and the laws made 
4p* lenient, 

viy I, an Yeh-lang exile, stricken with the chilly frost, 
~% How I longed for my friend in the west whom I could 
KcL not see. 

Only the east wind bore my dream back to Chang-an. 

*% ^ What a chance that I met you in this place ! 

In joy and bewilderment I felt like one fallen from the 

And amid the noise of pipes and flutes at the joyous 

I endeavored in vain to utter long sentences. 

Yesterday, clad in a biocade robe, I poured the costly 

To-day, sore-afflicted, I am dumb like the speechless 

Once I rode on horseback in the great imperial park; 

Now I jog about slowly from house to house of man- 


To his Friend at Chiang -Hsia 

At Nan-ping I met the governor and opened my heart; 
Now with you I may hold sweet conversation. 
Even as the leagues of cloud melt above the mountain, 
Opening the view of the blue sky around, so melts my 

Oh, grief! Oh, bitter pain, and pain evermore! 

Sorrowing, I drink two thousand jugs of wine — 

The cold ashes are warm again, and the spring is born. 

And you, jolly wise host without compare, 

Drunken, you go about, riding on the back of a mule. 

In the cloister yonder under clouds and the moon there 

are monks galore. 
But the mountains and waters — did they ever cater to 

man's desires? 
Ah, no! Better blow your reed pipes, beat your drums, 

and wanton on the river water. 
Call forth the young girls of the south and bid them 

sing the boat songs! 

I will knock down the Yellow Crane House for you with 
a hammer, 

You may upset the Parrot Island, too, for my sake. 

The heroic battle of the Red Walls was fought as in a 
dream — 

Let me sing and dance and lighten the sorrow of sep- 
aration ! 



Westward I ascend the Peak of Incense Burner; 
Southward I see the mighty waterfall. 
It plunges three hundred chang down the mountain, 
And froths for miles in the rapids below. 
lAfc As wind-driven snow speed the waters, 

Like a white rainbow spanning the dark. 
I wonder if Heaven's River had fallen from above 
To course through the mid-sky of clouds. 
jftL Long I lift my gaze — Oh, prodigious force! 
f How majestic the creation of gods! 

Unwavering before the ocean winds that blow, 
JfcJ^. Glaring at the faint moon from over the river, 
Profusely it sprays the sky 
And drenches the green mountain walls. 
The swift torrents boil over giant rocks; 
The flying water scatters a mist of ethereal gems. 

mountains of renown that I adore, 

You fill my heart with deep repose. 

No longer need I take the potion of precious stones, 

You can wash away the earth stains from my face. 

Let me be with the things I love, 

And leave the world of man forever. 



The sun shines on the Peak of Incense Burner, 
And the purple vapor rises like smoke. 
Lo, the long stream of water hung up yonder! 
Straight down three thousand chi the flying torrent leaps, 
As if the Silver River were falling from the ninth heaven. 

The Silver River, i. e., The Milky Way, 



Bereft of their love, 
Huang and Yin, the royal ladies of old, 
Ranged the banks of Hsiao and Hsiang, south of Tung- 
-g>y: They wandered by the fathomless waters of the deep* 
All the world tells the tale of their misery. 

Dark is the day, and dismal the clouds; 

Demons howl in the fog and infernal spirits whistle in 

the rain. 
Ah, me! What would it avail me if I dared to speak? 
High heaven shines not, I fear, on the loyalty of my 

Clouds gather clouds, — they would roar aloud in anger. 
Even Yao and Shun ruling, the scepter would pass to 

A king, deprived of his minister, is a dragon turned 

to a fish; 
A minister usurps power, lo! a mouse is become a tiger. 

Yao was imprisoned, they say, and Shun died in the 
open field. 

The Nine Hills of Perplexity stand in a row, one re- 
sembling another — 

How could they find the solitary mound of the Double- 
pupiled One? 

The king's daughters cried where the black clouds 


Bereft of Their Love 

Their lord was gone like wind and wave never to return. 
They wept and moaned, and gazed into the distance. 
Gazed longingly toward the deep mountains of Tsang-wu. 

The Mountains of Tsang-wu may crumble, the River 

Hsiang go dry. 
Their tears on the bamboo leaves will not fade forever. 

Huang and Hu Yin (2Jfth century B. C.) were two 
daughters of Emperor Yao, who gave them in marriage 
to his successor, Shun — the Double-pupiled One. Shun, 
while traveling south in the district of Tsang-wu (Hu- 
nan Province) died and was buried in the field. The 
two wives arrived too late to meet their husband, and 
their tear-marks produced a new species of bamboo with 
speckled leaves. Yui succeeded Shun as emperor. 

The original of this poem, much prized for its verbal 
beauty and its classic allegory, is quite obscure. The 
native commentators have a great deal to say on the 
significance of the second stanza. At any rate, it is 
clear that Li Po, while retelling the well-known legend, 
alludes to his separation from the emperor and to the 
unhappy state of affairs at the court that was infested 
with unworthy and wicked men. 




Lady Chao brushes the saddle inlaid with pearl; 

She mounts her palfrey and weeps, 

Wetting her rose-red cheeks with tears. 

To-day a high-born lady in the palace of Han, 

To-morrow in a far land 

She will be a barbarian slave. 

Lady Wang-chao, a lady in the seraglio of the em- 
peror Yuan-ti of the Han dynasty, was one of the early 
victims of the political marriages, which the ruling house 
of China was compelled to make from time to time with 
the chieftains of the barbarian tribes in order to avoid 
their savage incursions into the Middle Flower Kingdom. 

This emperor had so many beauties, it is said, that 
for the sake of convenience he ordered their portraits to 
be painted. All the ladies bribed the artist, except 
Lady Wang-chao, who was consequently very unfavor- 
ably represented in the private gallery of the sovereign. 
So when a lady of the palace had to be presented to a 
Tartar chieftain, the emperor chose Wang-chao, believ- 
ing her to be the easiest one to spare. He discovered 
his mistake too late. She died in the barbarian land; 
singularly enough, over her little mound in the desert 
the grass, they say, was always green, 



The moon above the palace of Han 

And above the land of Chin, *T JT 

Shedding a flood of silvery light, $*& 

Bids the radiant lady farewell. 
She sets out on the road of the Jewel Gate — 

The road she will not travel back. 
The moon returns above the palace of Han, 

Rising from the eastern seas, 
But the radiant lady wed in the west, 

She will return nevermore. 
On the Mongolian mountains flowers are made 

Of the long winter's snow. 
The moth-eyebrowed one, broken-hearted, 

Lies buried in the desert sand. 
Living, she lacked the gold, 

And her portrait was distorted; 
Dying she leaves a green mound, 

Which moves all the world to pity. 





The lamp-bearing dragon nestles over the polar gate, 

And his light illumines the frigid zone. 

For neither the sun nor the moon shines there, 

But only the north wind comes, blowing and howling 
from heaven. 

The snow-flakes of the Yen mountains are big like pil- 

They are blown down, myriads together, over the Hsuan- 
yuan palace. 

'Tis December. Lo, the pensive maid of Yu-chow! 
She will not sing, she will not smile; her moth-eyebrows 

are disheveled. 
She stands by the gate and watches the wayfarers 

Remembering him who snatched his sword and went to 

save the borderland, 
Him who suffered bitterly in the cold beyond the Great 

Him who fell in the battle and will never come 


In the tiger-striped gold case he left for her keeping 
There remains a pair of white-feathered arrows 
Amid the cobwebs and dust gathered of long years — 
Oh, empty tokens of love, too sad to look upon! 
She takes them out and burns them to ashes. 

The North Wind 

By building a dam one may stop the flow of the Yellow 

But who can assuage the grief of her heart when it 

snows and the north wind blows? 




The bright moon is above the Peak of Heaven 
In the far cloud-sea of Tartary. 

The wind sweeps on for ten thousand miles 
And blows over the Pass of the Jewel Gate. 

The imperial army marches down the Po-tung road 
While the barbarian foe pries the Bay of Chin-hai. 

The warriors watch the skies of the borderland, 
And many faces are sad with thoughts of home. 

Never yet from the battlefield 
A man was seen returning — al'as! 

To-night at the high house, where she is waiting, 
There is sighing and moaning without ceasing. 

The Jewel Gate Pass, or Yu-men, in Anhsi, Kansu. 
Po-tung. Perhaps, Ba-tung, on the old trade route 
to Tibet. 

Ching-hai. Kokonor, a lake in Mongolia. 


Last year we fought by the head-stream of the So-kan, 

This year we are fighting on the Tsung-ho road. 

We have washed our armor in the waves of the Chiao- 

chi lake, 
We have pastured our horses on Tien-shan's snowy 

The long, long war goes on ten thousand miles from 

Our three armies are worn and grown old. 

The barbarian does man-slaughter for plowing; 

On his yellow sand-plains nothing has been seen but 

blanched skulls and bones. 
Where the Chin emperor built the walls against the 

There the defenders of Han are burning beacon fires. 
The beacon fires burn and never go out, 
There is no end to war! — 

In the battlefield men grapple each other and die; 
The horses of the vanquished utter lamentable criep <6 

While ravens and kites peck at human entrails, 
Carry them up in their flight, and hang them on the 

branches of dead trees. 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

So, men are scattered and smeared over the desert grass, 
And the generals have accomplished nothing. 

Oh, nefarious war! I see why arms 

Were so seldom used by the benign sovereigns. 




The spring wind comes from the east and quickly passes, 
Leaving faint ripples in the wine of the golden bowl. 
The flowers fall, flake after flake, myriads together. 

You, pretty girl, wine-flushed, 

Your rosy face is rosier still. 

How long may the peach and plum trees flower 

By the green-painted house? 

The fleeting light deceives man, 

Brings soon the stumbling age. 

Rise and dance 
In the westering sun, 

While the urge of youthful years is yet unsubdued! 
What avails to lament after one's hair has turned white 
like silken threads? 





You, the dweller of the East Mountain, 

You, the lover of the beauty of hills and valleys, 

In the green spring you sleep in the empty woodland, 

And hardly rise in the broad daylight. 

The pine wind shakes your garment, 

And the stony brook cleanses your soul. 

How I envy you, who, unperturbed, 

Are pillowed high in a mist of emerald! • 


100. LINES 

Cool is the autumn wind, 

Clear the autumn moon, 

The blown leaves heap up and scatter again; 

A raven, cold-stricken, starts from his roost. 

Where are you, beloved? — When shall I see you once 

Ah, how my heart aches to-night — this hour! 





The lovely Lo-foh of the land of Chin, 
:fe Is plucking mulberry leaves by the blue water. 

^&t** On the green boughs her white arms gleam, 

And the bright sun shines upon her scarlet dress. 

&12ji "My silk-worms," says she, "are hungry, I must go. 

*^5A» "Tarry not with your five horses, Prince, I pray!" 

Lo-foh is the heroine of a popular ballad, which was 
already old at Li Po's time, and which served as the 
basis of the present poem. The original, much longer 
and charmingly naive, runs as follows: 

The sun rises from the southeast nooJe. 
It shines on the house of Master Chin. 
Master Chin, he has a comely daughter. 
Lo-foh is her name. 

Lo-foh feeds her silk-worms well. 

She picks mulberry leaves south of the city. 

Her basket has a cord of blue silk; 

And a hook made of a laurel branch. 

Her hair is dressed in pretty knots of Wa-doj 
Bright moonstones hang from her ears. 
Of yellow silk is her petticoat, 
And of purple silk her jacket. 

Ballads of the Four Seasons 

The Lord Governor, he comes from the south, 

His five horses stop and stay. 

The Lord Governor bids his men aslc; 

And they say: "Who art thou, little maid?" 

"I am the fair daughter of Master Chin, 

"Lo-foh is my name." 

"How old art thou, Lo-foh?" 

"I am still less than twenty, 

"But more than fifteen — yea, much more." 

The Lord Governor, he entreats Lo-foh. 

Says he, "Wilt thou ride with me, yea or nay?" 

Lo-foh comes forward and replies: 

"My Lord Governor," says she, "how foolish, indeed! 

"My Lord Governor, you have your own lady, 

"And Lo-foh, she has a man of her own" 





On the Mirror Lake three hundred li around 

Gaily the lotus lilies bloom. 

She gathers them — Queen Hsi-shih, in Maytime! 

A multitude jostles on the bank, watching. 

Her boat turns back without waiting the moonrise, 

And glides away to the house of the amorous Yueh king. 

Queen Hsi-shih, See Note under No, J^S, 




The moon is above the city of Chang-an, 
From ten thousand houses comes the sound of cloth- 
pounding; J*** 
The sad autumn wind blows, and there is no end 
To my thought of you beyond the Jewel Gate Pass. 
When will the barbarian foe be vanquished, 
And you, my beloved, return from the far battlefield? 


Cloth-pounding is the ironing part in the old-fashioned 
Chinese laundering process. On account of the hardness 
of the wooden stand and mallet employed for it, the 
pounding produces a shrill metallic sound. Women 
working late, and their mallets clanging through the 
night, have long been a popular theme for poets. 

In the present poem the situation is pathetic since 
from the ten thousand houses, where women are work- 
ing late in the night, men have gone to the far battle 

The Jewel Gate Pass, is located at the western ex- 
tremity of Kansu province. 




yr~- WINTER 

The courier will depart on the morrow for the front. 
£f All night she sews a soldier's jacket. 
<^/^ Her fingers, plying the needle, are numb with cold; 

Scarce can she hold the icy scissors. 
3^> At last the work is done; she sends it a long, long way, 
SrV Oh, how many days before it reaches him in Lin-tao? 

Lin-tao, a town on the frontier of Tu-fan, whose war- 
like tribes had harassed the Chinese empire* for cen- 
turies past. 



(A river-merchant's wife writes) 

I would play, plucking flowers by the gate; 

My hair scarcely covered my forehead, then. 

You would come, riding on your bamboo horse, >^» 

And loiter about the bench with green plums for toys. ^1 

So we both dwelt in Chang-kan town, ^ 

We were two children, suspecting nothing. **^" 

At fourteen I became your wife, 

And so bashful that I could never bare my face, 

But hung my head, and turned to the dark wall; 

You would call me a thousand times,- 

But I could not look back even once. 

At fifteen I was abl'e to compose my eyebrows, 

And beg you to love me till we were dust and ashes. 

You always kept the faith of Wei-sheng, 

Who waited under the bridge, unafraid of death, 

I never knew I was to climb the Hill of Wang-fu 

And watch for you these many days. 

I was sixteen when you went on a long journey, 
Traveling beyond the Keu-Tang Gorge, 
Where the giant rocks heap up the swift river, 
And the rapids are not passable in May. 
Did you hear the monkeys wailing 
Up on the skyey height of the crags? 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Do you know your foot-marks by our gate are old, 
And each and every one is filled up with green moss? 

The mosses are too deep for me to sweep away; 

And already in the autumn wind the leaves are falling. 

The yellow butterflies of October 

Flutter in pairs over the grass of the west garden. 

My heart aches at seeing them. . . . 

I sit sorrowing alone, and alas! 

The vermilion of my face is fading. 

Some day when you return down the river, 

If you will write me a letter beforehand, 

I will come to meet you — the way is not long — 

I will come as far as the Long Wind Beach instantly. 

Chang-kan is a suburb of Nanking. 

The Long Wind Beach, or Chang-feng SRa, is in An- 
hwei, several hundred miles up the river, from Nanking. 
It is really a long way. But by making the wife say 
that the way is not long, Li Po brings out the girlishness 
of the speaker. 

Wang-fu means "husband watching" and more than 
one hill has taken that name because of a similar tra- 
dition of a forlorn wife who climbed the height to watch 
for the return of her husband. 

Wei Sheng. 6th century B. C. He was a young man 
of fidelity. He promised to meet a girl under a bridge 
in Chang-an, and waited for her there. Though the 
girl did not appear and the river water was rising, he 
would not leave his post and was drowned. 


(Another river-merchant's wife writes) pN^ 

I lived in my maiden bower, jZr* 

Unaware of all things of the world. / 

Since married to you of Chang-kan town, 

I wander the river bank to spy the weather. S~~T~ 

In May the south wind blows, ' >l 

I think of you sailing down to Pa-ling; («^ 

In August the west wind arises, 

And I know you will part from Yangtzu. 

You come and go, I sorrow ever, 

Seeing you so little, and living so much apart. 

When will you arrive at Hsiang-tan? 

My dream goes over the wind-tossed waves. 

Last night a storm went past in fury, 

Tearing down trees on the riverside, 

Spreading darkness without end — 

Where were you, then, poor traveler? 

Would I could ride the swift-drifting cloud, 

And meet you in good time east of Orchid Beach! 

Oh, the happy pair of mandarin-ducks among the 

And the purple kingfishers, embroidered on the gold 

screen ! 
Why at fifteen years and little more, 
My face pink like the peach flower, 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Have I become a river merchant's wife, 

To grieve over winds and grieve again over waves! 

Pa-ling, is another name for Yo-chow, Hunan. 
Hsiang-tan, in Chang-sha fu, Hunan. 


TOWER >g^ 

An exile, I ascend this tower, 

rvu caiic, x datum tuis lunci, r"* -^ 

Thinking of home, and with the anguish of the waning ^f$T 

The sun has set far beyond heaven's immensity; 
The unsullied waters flow on in bleak undulation. 
I see a stray cloud of Chin above the mountain trees, 
And the wild geese of Tartary flying over the river dunes. 
Alas! for ten thousand miles under the dark blue sky 
As far as my eyes can reach, there is but one vast 

gloom for me. 

Both the stray cloud and the migratory birds remind 
the poet of his own wanderings. 







A dog barks afar where the waters croon. 

The peach flowers are deeper-tinted, wet with rain. 

The wood is so thick that one espies a deer at times, 

But cannot hear the noon bell in this lonely glen. 

The wild bamboos sway in the blue mist, 

And on the green mountainside flying cascades glistep 

What way has he gone? There is none to tell; 

Sadly I lean against a pine tree here and there. 

Mount Tai-tien is where Li Po used to live, and is 
Jcnown also as the Tai-kuang Mountain. Tu Fu men- 
tion it in one of his poems addressed to Li Po. See 
No. 127. 

"So to your old place of reading in Mount Kuang." 



By a stony wall I enter the Red Valley. 

The pine-tree gate is choked up with green moss; 

There are bird-marks on the deserted steps, 

But none to open the door of the priest's cell. 

I peer through the window and see his white brush 

Hung on the wall and covered with dust. 

Disappointed, I sigh in vain; 

I would go, but loiter wistfully about. 

Sweet scented clouds are wafted along the mountainside, 

And a rain of flowers falls from the sky. 

Here I may taste the bliss of solitude 

And listen to the plaint of blue monkeys. 

Ah, what tranquility reigns over this ground! 

What isolation from all things of the world! 

The white brush is carried by the priest as a symbol 
of purity and cleanliness. 





The stream reflects the lean foliage of a pine — 

An old pine of unremembered years. 

The cold moonlight gleams on the tremulous water, 

And pours into my room by the window door. 

I prolong my futile singing to-night, 

Deploring thee — how deeply, prince! 

For no more shalt thou see a true vassal like An-tao. 

My song, ceasing, leaves the grief in my heart. 

This is a poem composed probably after the rebellion 
of An Lu-shan and the flight of the emperor from the 
capital, the "prince** referring to the emperor. 



Forth to sylvan retreats I went, a vagabond, ^>r 

Led by pleasure, and of the distance unaware. Xx?\ 

The blue range yonder lay too far to travel "^ 

When the giddy sun was ready to set. 

Barely had I crossed three, four hills; 

The road had taken a thousand and ten thousand turns 



Mountains thrust their peaks in the mid-sky; j*£ 

I could have climbed and gazed forever / yj 

When Tan-chiu, my friend, called me from afar. 
He looked at me and burst into laughter. 

I heard the monkeys wail in the still twilight, 

And saw the clouds roll away one by one. 

Now came the dainty moon over the tall pines, 

How exquisite the autumnal scene of a hollow glen! 

There was old snow left in the deep ravine, 

And the frosty rapids flew, cutting through rock. 

I went to his hermitage down the valley 
And entered the solitude of a recluse. 
Here we delighted ourselves night-long — 
It was lucid day-break when I spoke of going. 




By a pale lantern — under the cold moon 

We were drinking heavily together. 

Frightened by our orgies, a white heron 

Flaffed out of the river shallows. It was midnight 





Really I am a mad man of Chu, ,, j^ 

Singing the phoenix-bird song and laughing at the sage -fSp % 

At dawn a green jade staff in my hand, Ai|/ . 

I leave the Yellow Crane House and go, > J£ 

Seeking genii among the Five Mountains, forgetting the J3- P J 

All my life I've loved to visit the mountains of renown. 

The Luh Shan looms near the constellation of the South 

Like a nine-fold screen adorned with embroidery of 

And the clear lake reflects its gleaming emerald. 
The two peaks shoot up high where the Gold Gate opens 

And over against the far waterfall of the Censer Moun- 
The cascades of San-shi-liang hang like the Silver River 

of heaven. 
The craggy ranges over- reach the azure blue; 
And girdled in pink mist and green foliage, 
They glisten in the morning sun. 

The birds cannot fly over — to the remote skies of Wu. 
I ascend the high place and look out on heaven and 

Lo! the waters of the great Kiang flow on and on never 

to return. 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Anon, blowing yellow clouds miles upon miles, the wind 

And through the nine provinces white billows roll on 

like mountains of snow. 

I love to make the song of Luh Shan. 

Luh Shan is my joy and inspiration. 

I gaze idly into the Stone Mirror to cleanse my soul, 

Though the path Prince Shieh went is lost under deep 

green moss. 
I've swallowed early the sacred pellet and forsaken all 

worldly desires. 
Playing on the harp thrice over, I've attained the Way. 
I see genii amid the iridescent clouds afar, 
Going up to the celestial city with lotus in their hands. 
I shall meet the Illimitable above the ninth heaven, 
Then, with Lu-ao I hope to journey to the Great Void. 

Luh Shan is a mountain near Kiu-kiang, Kiangsi. 

When Confucius was visiting the land of Chu, a mad 
man named Tsu Yu passed him by, laughing and sing- 
ing, "0 phoenix bird, phoenix bird!" etc. The sage 
attempted in vain to have an interview with him. 

The last stanza refers to the poet's Taoistic attain- 
ment and visions, 



These three poems were written in 755 when he was 
setting out to join Li Ling, the prince of Yung. 

As to the significance of the Hill of Wang-fu, see the 
note under No. 105. There was a hill by that 'name 
near Hsuan-cheng, Anhweu 



Thrice my prince has called. I shall go, and not return. 
To-morrow morn I take leave of you, *K\ 

And cross the pass of Wu Kuan. ^ 

In vain you shall look for me in the white jade house, 
But you must go and climb the Hill of Wang-fu long- 




At the gate you still hold me by the robe, 
And ask me when I shall come back from the west. 
I will return some day, wearing, perhaps, a seal of gold. 
And you will not imitate the wife of Su Chin, 
Who came not down from her loom. 


Su Chin (died B. C. 817) was a native of Lo-yang. 
In his youthful years he went out, seeking for a career, 
but returned in rags and tatters. His wife would not 
take the trouble of leaving her place at the loom in order 
to greet him. However, he succeeded later in his scheme 
of the federation of six weaker states against the strong 
state of Chin, and he was appointed prime minister of 
each of the six states thus combined. A seal of gold was 
given to a state minister as the symbol of authority. 

In this poem Li Po*s political ambition is evident. 



Gold are the staircases, and like a kingfisher's wings 
Sparkle the towers of the house where I shall be. t*}\ 

But the thought of you, my dear, who will stand alone - 
By the ancient gate and weep, !?NL 

Will make me sit awake at night by the lonely lamp, ^^ 
And watch the dying moon of dawn; Jt^Sf* 

And all my tears shall flow as I journey on to the west. i^*^ 



On the face of the bright mirror, I wonder, 
Whence has come this hoar frost of autumn! 
Ah, my long, long white hair of three thousand chang, 
Grown so long with the cares of this world! 

Chang is a Chinese unit of measure equal, perhaps, to 
ten feet. White hair 80,000 feet is certainly long. 
But this is not ludicrous to Chinese taste, for it is not a 
foolish extravagance but an innocent form of poetic in- 

In Chinese literature figures such as one thousand, 
three thousands, and ten thousands, simply denote a 
large number. So we read constantly of a party of ten 
thousand guests, a waterfall three thousand feet high, 
and a man emptying one thousand jugfuls of wine. 




Once we dwelt in the city of Chang-an 

In wild ecstasy of flowers and willow-green. 

We drank our wine from the same bowls 

With five princes and seven dukes. 

Our hearts rose and grew blither, 

Unflinching in the presence of a warrior lord; 

Nor did we fall behind any one, when, 

Delighting in wind and stream, we sought beauty. jX^ 

You had red cheeks, then; and I was young, too. 
We sped our horses to Chang-tai's pleasure mart, 
And lightly carried our crops of gold; . * 

Offered our essays in the court examination; **T i\ 

And sat feasting at a tortoise table; ^ r _ aj 

And there was endless singing and dancing; ... k c* 

We thought it would last forever, you and I — •<* 

How were we to know that the grass would tremble 
And the wind and dust come, roaring down? 

Down through the Han-ku Pass 
The Tartar horsemen came. 
I am an exile now, traveling heavy-hearted, 
Far away to the land of Yeh-lang. 
The peach and plum trees by the palace 
Are opening their petals toward the light — 
Ah, when will the Gold Cock bring me pardon, 
And I may return to you from banishment? 

The Gold Cock was displayed as symbol for amnesty. 



A wandering exile, I came away to Long Beach. 

I gazed toward home, beyond the horizon, 

Toward the city of Chang-an. 

I heard some one in the Yellow Crane House, 

Playing on the sweet bamboo flute 

The tune of the "Falling Plum Flowers" . . . 

It was May in the waterside city. 





Whence comes this voice of the sweet bamboo, 

Flying in the dark? 

It flies with the spring wind, 

Hovering over the city of Lo. 

How memories of home come back to-night! 

Hark! the plaintive tune of "Willow-breaking." . . . ±& 


The "Willoxv-breaking" was a popular parting song. 



J*- -^ Westward from Tung-ting the Chu River branches out, 

<& /&)P While the lake fades into the cloudless sky of the south 

jj^ The sun gone down, the autumn twilight steals afar 
f^| jQr over Chang-sha. 

j^jX I wonder where sleep the lost queens of Hsiang of old. 


These are two of the five poems Li Po composed at a 
boat party with Chia-chi and Li Hua while on his way 
to Yeh-lang. See the Introduction. 

The Chu River. The Yangtze takes this name in this 
vicinity near the Tung-ting Lake, which comprises the 
ancient land of Chu. 

The lost queens of Hsiang, i. e. O Huang and Hu 
Yin, the wives of Shun, who perisheed near the lake by 
the Hsiang River. See No. 92. 


The autumn night is vaporless on the lake. ^^, 

The swelling tide could bear us on to the sky. ^*^2 

Come, let us take the moonlight for our guide, 
We'll sail away and drink where the white clouds arel 




Divided from you, I lament alone under the skies 
of Yeh-lang. 
^ In my moonlit house seldom a message arrives; 
% I watch the wild geese all go north in the spring. 
j[&L And they come south — hut not a letter from Yu-chang 



This is evidently addressed to his last wife, who was 
staying at Yu-chang, in central Kiangsi, while Li Po 
was traveling westward to his place of banishment. 


Once I sought the City of White Jade in heaven, 
The five palaces and twelve lofty towers, &&> >» 

Where gods of felicity stroked me on the forehead, A&** 

And I bound my hair and received the everlasting life. *y^*jC 
Woe to me, I turned to the pleasures of the world, ^r ^^ 

Pondering deep on peace and war, J|!^, ^§^ 

And the reigns of the ninety-six illustrious kings, J?- ^- 

Whose empty fame hangs on the drifting vapor! j^ J'av 

I could not forget the tumultuous battles; I -fl 

Fain would I try the empire-builder's art ^sr* 5 ^ 

Of staking heaven and earth in one throw, £% -5rJ 

And win me the car and cap of the mandarin. \ *\ 

But time ordained a dire disappointment, llL 1 ]^ 

I threw my hopes and went, wandering wide. 
I learned swordsmanship and laughed at myself. 
I wielded my pen — what did I achieve after all? 
A sword could not fight a thousand foemen; 
The pen did steal fame from the four seas, 
Yet it is a child's play not worth talking about, 
Five times I sighed ; and went out of the western metrop- 
At the time of my leaving 
My hat-strings were wet with tears. 
It was you, my friend, excellent and wise, 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

The peerless flower of our race, 

Who spread the mat and drew the curtains round 

For a parting feast to comfort me journeying far. 

You came to see me off, you and your company on horse 

As far as the Inn of Cavaliers. 

There amid songs and tinkling bells, 

Ere our hearts were sated, 

The garish sun fell beyond the Kun-ming Lake. x 

In October I arrived in the land of Yu Chow, 

And saw the legions of star-beaming spears. 

The northland by the sea, abandoned by our dear em- 

And trusted to one like the monstrous whale, 

That drinks up a hundred rivers at one draught, 

Was crumbling fast to utter ruin. 

Knowing this, I could not speak out, 

And vainly wished I had lived in the fabled isle without 

I was like an archer who, cowed by the wolf, 

Sets the arrow but dares not draw the bow-string. 

At the Gold Pagoda I brushed my tears 

And cried to heaven, lamenting King Chao. 

There was none to prize the bones of a swift steed. 

In vain the fleet Black Ears bounced lustily, 

And futile it was, should another Yo-I appear. 

I prodded on, a houseless exile — 

All things went amiss; 

I sped my horse and returned to your town. 2 

I met you and listened to your song and twanging strings, 

Sitting ceremoniously in your flower-painted room. 

Your prefecture alone possessed the peace of antiquity 

And the balmy ease that lulled the mystical king Hsi to 


To His Friend, Wei, the Good Governor 

You called for musicians, and the hall was gay: 

Our banquet table laden with wine cups and jars, 

And handsome files of men sitting with moth-eyebrowed 

Our feast went on in the light of blazing cressets. 
Drunken, we danced amid the confusion of silken stools, 
And round the rafters hovered our clear song — 
So our revelry lasted till even after the dawn. 
But you returned to Hsing-yang, your official days over. 
What a multitude that gathered for the farewell rites, 
And those tents erected on the roadside near and far! 
Once parted, we were divided by a thousand miles, 
With our fortunes differing like summer and winter. 

Summers and winters had come and gone — how many 

times? — 
And suddenly the empire was wrecked. 
The imperial army met the barbarian foe, 
The dust of the battlefield darkened sky and sea, 
And the sun and moon were no longer bright 
While the wind of death shook the grass and trees. 
And the white bones were piled up in hills — 
Ah, what had they done — the innocent people? 

The pass of Han-ku guarded the imperial seat of splen- 
And the fate of the empire hung on General Ku Shu. 
He with his thirty thousand long-spear men 
Surrendered, and opened the gate to the savage horde. 
They tamed the courtiers like dogs and sheep, 
And butchered the men who were loyal and true. 
Both the sovereign and the heir fled from the palace, 
And the twin imperial cities were laid to waste. 3 
The imperial prince, given the supreme command, 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Held his armies in the stronghold of Chu; 

But there was no discipline of Huan and Wen. 

His generals herded bears and tigers in the ranks-, 

And men wavered in doubts and fears 

While the rebellion raged like tempest. 

You were defending Fang-ling, I remember, 

With loyalty unsurpassed in all ages. 


I lived then in the mountain of Incense Burner, 

Eating the mist and washing my mouth in the crysta 

The house door opened on the winding Nine Rivers, 
And beneath my pillow lay the five lakes, one linked to 

When the fleet came upstream in the midnight 
And filled the city of Hsin-yang with flags and banners, 
I, betrayed by my own empty name, 
Was carried by force aboard the war-boat. 
They gave me five hundred pieces of gold, 
I brushed it away like a rack, and heeded not; 
Spurned the gift and the proffered title — 
For all that I was banished to the land of Yeh-lang. 

Oh, the long road of a thousand miles to Yeh-lang! 
The westward journey made me old. 
Though the world was being put to order, 
I was ignored like a stalk of frost-bitten grass. 
The sun and the moon shine alike on all — 
How could I complain of injustice to heaven? 
You, good governor, adored like a god, 
Took compassion on your old friend. 
You invited me to be your guest of honor, 
And we ascended three times the tower house of Yellow 


To His Friend, Wei, the Good Governor 

I blushed to think of Mi Hsien, the poet-recluse — 

How he would sit, looking complacently at the Parrot 

No more heroes were born to the enchanted mountains of 
Fan. 4 

And the desolation of autumn covered the world. 

But lo, the river swelling with the tides of Three Can- 

And the thousands of junks that thronged these wa- 

Jostling their white sails, gliding past to Yang-chow! 

On looking out on these things, my grief melted away 
in my heart. 

We sat by the gauze-curtained window that opened to the 

And over the green trees that grew like hair by the 

Watching the sun with fear lest it be swallowed by thq 

And merry at moonrise, drinking still more wine. 

Those maids of Wu and pretty girls of Yueh, 

How dainty their vermilioned faces! 

They came up by the long flight of stairs; emerged, 

From behind the bamboo screen, smiling; 

And danced, silken-robed, in the wind of spring. 

The host was reluctant to pause 
Though the guests knelt and asked for rest. 
You showed me your poem of Ching-shan, 
Rivaling the native beauty of the lotus, 
That rises from the lucent water, unadorned. 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Your joyous spirit swelling over in your heart, 
You called for me ever at your residence, 
Your mansion whose red gate was guarded hy men, 
Holding their spears in stately rows. 
Amid quaintly cut stones and trimmed bamboos 
A rivulet ran, brimming with limpid water. 
We went up and sat in the waterside pavilion, 
And poured forth our souls in heroic discourses. 
A word between us is precious like white jade, 
And a pledge of ours more than yellow gold. 
I was not unworthy of you, I venture to say, 
And swore by the Blue Bird on my fidelity. 

The happy magpie among the five-colored clouds 
Came, flying and crying, from heaven. 
The mandate of my pardon arrived, I was told, 
And I could return from banishment in Yeh-lang. 
It was as if warmth enlivened the frozen vale, 
Or fire and flame sprang from the dead ashes. 

Still the dogs of Chieh bark at Yao, 
And the Tartar crew mock at the imperial command. 
In the middle of the night I sigh four and five times, 
Worrying ever over the great empire's affairs. 
Still the war banners cover the sides of the two moun- 
Between which flows the Yellow River. 
Our generals like frightened fowls dare not advance, 
But linger on, watering their idle horses. 
Ah, where shall we find a Hu-I, the archer, 
Who with the first arrow will shoot down the evil star? 5 

1 This, the longest poem in the entire collection of Li 
Po's works*, is in a way his autobiography. It was 

To His Friend, Wei, the Good Governor 

written after he was allowed to return from banishment 
in 759. See the Introduction. 

The first stanza tells of his early life of seclusion in 
the world of Taoistic visions; of his ambition; and of his 
disappointment at Chang-an, the western metropolis. 

The Inn of Cavaliers and the Kun-ming Lake are 
both situated in the vicinity of Chang-an. At the time 
of Li Po*s departure from the capital {circa 7^.5) Wei 
was evidently in Chang-an and was able to give him the 
big farewell demonstration described herein. 

2 Yu Chow, the northland, is in the present Chili prov- 
ince. It was here that An Lu-shan was stationed with 
his star-gleaming legions, and Li Po detected the Tartar 
general* s rebellious schemes, . though he was obliged to 
keep silent. It was this region which comprised the 
state of Yen in the J/.th century B. C. and where King 
Chao ruled and built the Gold Pagoda. 

King Chao once questioned his retainer, Kuo Wei, as 
to the ways of attracting the great men of the time to 
his court. Kuo Wei told his liege the following par- 
able : 

Once upon a time a certain king sent out his servant 
on a mission to secure a swift horse that could run a 
thousand li in a day. The servant returned with a bag- 
ful of bones of a horse which was said to have made a 
thousand li in a day. For these remains the servant had 
paid 500 pieces of gold. The king was angry, for he 
wanted a live horse. The servant replied, "When the 
world learns that your Majesty has spent 500 pieces of 
gold on a dead horse, the live ones will arrive without 
your looking for them." Indeed, three horses — all of 
them, one thousand li runners — arrived soon at the court. 
"So my king/' continued Kuo Wei, "if you really de- 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

sire to show your high regard for men of great talent, 
begin with me who have but small talent!" 

King Chao took the advice. He built the Gold Pa- 
goda, and there he waited upon Kuo Wei as his teacher. 
Then many men of ability came from all parts' of China 
to King Chao, and with their aid he became the most 
powerful of all kings. 

The Black Ears was a famous swift horse. 

Yo-I was one of those great men who came to King 
Chao. Li Po laments that now there is no sovereign 
seeking as earnestly as King Chao for men of talent. 
And these, of whom he is one, have no opportunity. 

3 Just in what prefecture Wei was stationed is not 
known. When his official term was over, he returned 
to Hsin-yang, a town on the west side of Chang-an. 
Sometimes the two names are applied synonymously to 
the capital. 

The Chinese made a great deal of leave-taking, often 
erecting as in this case tents on the wayside and offer- 
ing sacrifices to the god of the road for the safety of 
the one setting out on his journey. 

These passages refer, of course, to tUe rebellion of An 
Lu-shan. General Ku Shu defended the Han-ku Pass, 
which is an older name for Tun Kuan. By the twin 
imperial cities the poet very probably means Hsing- 
yang and Chang-an, unless he means the latter and city 
of Lo-yang. See the Introduction. 

4 The imperial prince i. e. Li Ling, the Prince of 
Yung. See the Introduction. 

Li Po was quite willing to join the staff of the prince 

at the beginning; but when his rebellious intent became 

obvious, the poet retired to the mountain of Luh, near 

Kiu-kiang, or Hsin-yang, as it was called at the time. 


To His Friend, Wei, the Good Goveemor 

The Incense Burner is one of the peaks of the Luh 
mountain range. 

Wei was now the governor of Chiang-hsia, a district 
in southern Hupeh. The Yellow Crane House (See 
note, No. Jf.0) looks over the Y angtze-kiang . 

5 Chieh is a notorious tyrant, and Yao a benign sover- 
eign, of ancient China. By the "dogs of Chieh" are 
meant Shih Ssu-ming and his cohorts, who kept up the 
rebellion started by An Lu-shan. 

Hu I, a famous archer of the legend, who shot down 
the false suns that appeared in the heavens and devas- 
tated the crops. Here Li Po means a savior, who could 
deliver the empire from the clutch of the rebels. 





The following poems by Tu Fu and others are but a 
few of many such collected by Wang Chi and appended 
to his edition of Li Po's Complete Works. These poems 
are not only beautiful in themselves but are of a peculiar 
interest in that they give a glimpse into the charming 
circle of poets by whom Li Po was surrounded and es- 
teemed so highly. 


Chi-Chang rides his horse, hut reels -* 

As on a reeling ship. <K 

Should he, blear-eyed, tumble into a well, 4 

He would lie in the bottom fast asleep. ->^ 

Ju-yang Prince must have three jugfuls * 

Ere he goes up to court. > >> 

How copiously his royal mouth waters * 

As a brewer's cart passes by! ^ 

It's a pity, he mournfully admits, 

That he is not the lord of the Wine Spring. 
Our Minister Li squanders at the rate Y\ 

Of ten thousand pence per day. *** 

He inhales like a great whale, «J 

Gulping one hundred rivers; 
And with a cup in his hand insists, 

He loves the sage and avoids the wise. 
Tsung-Chi, a handsome youth fastidious, 

Disdains the rabble, 
And turns his gaze toward the blue heaven, 

Holding his beloved bowl — 
Radiant is he like a tree of jade 

That stands against the breeze. 
Su Chin, the religious, cleanses his soul 

Before his painted Buddha, 
But his long rites must needs be interrupted 

As oft he loves to go on a spree. 
As for Li po, give him a jugful, 

He will write one hundred poems. 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

He drowses in a wine shop 

On a city-street of Chang-an; 
And though his sovereign calls 

Will not board the imperial barge. 
"Please your Majesty," says he, 

"I am a god of wine." 
Chang Hsu is a caligrapher of renown, 

Three cups makes him the master. 
He throws off his cap, baring his pate 

Unceremoniously before princes, 
And wields his inspired brush — lo! 

Wreaths of cloud roll on the paper. 
Chao Sui, another immortal, elate 

After full five jugfuls, 
Is eloquent with heroic speech, 

The wonder of all the feasting hall. 


The Wine Spring, located in the western part of 
Kansu, is said to have possessed a natural fountain of 

The sage and the wise. See No. 126. 



Avoiding the wise, I've resigned 

From the empire's ministry. tZg 

Loving the sage, still I sip 

The soothing cup of wine. 

Ah, those eager visitors of yesterday, 
Who flocked at the front of my gate — 

How many of them have come 

This morning, I pray? ~^v7v 

— Li Shih-chi <«? 


A book called "Facts about Poets" says: "In the 
Matter part of the Kai-yuan Era (A.D. 713-7^2) the 
prime minister, Li Shih-chi, had an enviable reputation 
for his simplicity and rugged uprightness. Li Ling-fu 
hated him, and by slander and intrigue caused his re- 
tirement. All those at the court knew the innocence of 
Shih-chi, but the emperor neglected to consult him. » -<?j 
Fretting under this mistreatment, Shih-chi drank wine ~^— 
daily and also made poems." Of which this is a sped- '*— — 
men. He describes the' solitude and ease of his private 

By "avoiding the wise" is meant vacating one's official 
position in order to make way for the wise and talented. 
The phrase, first used by Shih Ching of the Han dynasty 
in his petition for his release from the office of the pre- 
mier, had become a stock pretext for the retiring official. 



Li Po the Chinese Poet 

On the other hand, the thick wine was called the wise, 
and the clear wine the sage. Hence, there is in this 
poem a play on words with a subtle irony, of a kind much 
relished by the literary Chinese. 



My honored friend, Li, writes excellent verses, 
Th \t ring at times like Ying-kao's masterly lines. 
I, too, a sojourner of Tung Meng, 
Love him as a younger brother loves the elder. 
Drunk, we sleep both under one cover at night; 
And in daytime we go together hand in hand. 
Now longing for a place of quiet company, 
We come to visit you on the city's northside. 
Your little boy waits on us so handsomely, 
Joy leaps in our hearts as we enter your gate. 
What solitude! We hear only the chilly mallets, 
And see the clouds bivouac before the old city wall. 
Having always sung the ode of the sweet citron, 
Who cares to seek for the soup of the water-herbs? 
You desire not the debasement of official life, 
But remain untrammeled like the blue, boundless sea. 


This poem was written in the earlier days of their 
friendship when Li Po and Tu Fu were both in Shan- 
tung. Tung Meng is a district in that province. 



To-day at the time of falling leaves we meet only to part 

- *Z On the autumn waters of the Tung-ting, that stretch afar 
*— J£^ to the horizon. 

Jjr And while talking together of our good old time at the 
_^4-» metropolis of gold, 

^J We turn to the northern sky and gaze at the stars of the 
«-»-f* Ursa Major, our eyes filled with tears. 

__^ Chia Chi. 



The metropolis of gold is the capital of the empire, 
Chang-an, where both Li Po and Chia Chi had spent 
their more prosperous days. 



In the cool autumn month — the Eight or the Ninth — 
White is the dew, and desolate the garden arbor. 

As I sat weary, devoid of the heart's buoyancy, 

I heard the wind whisper to the leaves on the tree-top, 

And longed to see some friend, a man of learning and 

With whom I could discourse over the past and the pres- 
When suddenly who should come but you, Honorable Li. 

I greeted you with joy, regretting only it had not been 

I clapped my hands at your enchanting utterances; 
We talked metaphysics; we bubbled with laughter. 
You expounded the vicissitudes of the past dynasties, 
And made visible the exploits of kings and conquerors. 

A knap-sack on your back, filled with books, 

You go a thousand miles and more, a pilgrim. 

Under your sleeve there is a dagger, 

And in your pocket a collection of poems. 

Your eyes shine like luminous orbs of heaven 

When you recite your incomparable songs and odes. 

You sip wine and twang your lute strings 

When the winter's breath congeals the crystaline frost. 

To-day I laid bare before you 
All things long stored in my heart. 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Now my family has a villa, 

Situated on the north side of Mount Sung. 

One sees the bright moon rise over the peak, 

And the chaste beams silver the transparent stream. 

The clouds scatter, and the house is quiet; 

The passing wind bears the aroma of pine and cassia. 

If you will deign to make a visit thither with me, 

I will not forget the honor for a thousand years. 

Tsui Tsung-chi. 

Tsui Tsung-chi, the handsome man and the fourth of 
the Immortals in Tu Fu's poem. He was a good friend 
of Li Po, and there are a number of poems extant, that 
were written by the latter to him. See the Introduction. 

Mount Sung, one of the five sacred mountains, is 
to the southeast of Honan-fu, Honan. 



Po, the poet unrivaled, 

In fancy's realm you soar alone. 

Yours is the delicacy of Yui, 

And Pao's rare virility. 

Now on the north of the Wei River 

I see the trees under the vernal sky 

While you wander beneath the sunset clouds 

Far down in Chiang-tung. 

When shall we by a cask of wine once more 

Argue minutely on versification? 

Tu Fu. 

Yui and Pao refer respectively to Yui Hsin and Pao 
Chao, both noted poets of the 6th century, 



131. TO U PO 

- ^ Long have I not seen you, Li. 

JA Poor man, for your feigned madness 

S The world would have you die. 

a But my heart dotes on your gifted soul 

fz niX^ For the thousand poems of your nimble wit, 
+j~ l*. For the one wine-cup — your penury's balm. 

^^J^v So to your old place of reading in Mount Kuang 
Come back, white-headed one! It is time. 

Tu Fu. 

Written possibly after the incarceration of Li Po at 
Kiu-hiang and while the death sentence "was hanging 
over his white head. 



By the River of Tsai-shih 

There is Li Po's mound 

Amid the endless plains of grass 

That stretch to the cloud-patched sky. 

Alas! here under the fallow field 

The bones of him lie whose writing once 

Startled heavens and shook the earth. 

Of all poets, unfortunate as they be, 

There is none wretcheder, Master, than you. 

Po Chu-i. 

It is likely that Po Chu-I visited the grave of Li Po 
during his banishment at Kiu-Iciang, 815-818. 





The following translations are offered as much be- 
cause of their contents as because of the interest they 
possess as types of ancient Chinese writing at and about 
Li Po's time. 

Li Yang-ping's Preface is written in the euphuism of 
the Six Dynasty Period with its parallel constructions, 
profuse classical allusions, and curious hyperboles. 
Though the author's judgment is not worth any serious 
consideration, this is the first critical essay on Li Po. 

The two biographies from the "Books of Tang," in 
spite of their brevity and mistakes, remain still the 
official and only extant authentic accounts of the poet's 
life written in Chinese. 







Li Po, surnamed Tai-po, was a man of Cheng-chi of 
Lunghsi and a descendant in the ninth generation from 
Kao, who was the king Wu-chao of the Liang state. 

His early ancestors, one after another, wearing the 
gem and girdle, 2 were possessed of preeimence and re- 
nown. Later one Li, though he had done no wrong, was 
exiled and dwelt in the land of Chiao-chi, where he 
changed his names. The five generations from Chiung- 
shan to the emperor Shun were in the peasantry; and so 
were the Li's, and they did not shine greatly. Which is 
a thing to be lamented. 

In the beginning of the Shen-Iung era 3 the family es- 
caped and returned to Shuh. Our "Po-yang" 4 was born, 

*Li Yang-ping, Li Po's kinsman, and a calligrapher of note, 
brought out the poet's works in 762. 

2 "Wearing gem and girdle" implies holding governmental 

3 The Shen-lung era covers the years 705 and 706. The state- 
ment here is obviously a mistake since by this time Li Po was 
already a boy of four or five. The New Book of Tang incor- 
porates this mistake. 

4 Po Yang. The surname of Laotzu, the founder of Taoism, 
who was born in 604 b. c. miraculously from the left side of 
the mother. And at his birth he pointed to a plum tree. Here 
Li Yang-ping alludes to Li Po metaphorically. 

IA To the Chinese Poet 

pointing to the plum tree. On the evening of his birth 
his mother dreamed of the planet of Chang-keng. So 
when the babe was born, he was named Po, and surnamed 
Tai-po. They said he was begotten by the spirit of the 
Great White Star. 

He would read nought but the books of the sages and 
was ashamed to write after the lewd school of Chen and 
Wei. 5 Thus, his words resembled the speech of the 
heavenly genii. His writing consists of many satires and 

From the ages of the Three Dynasties 6 and the times 
of the Feng and Sao, 7 there has been but one man, our 
master, who could run the race with Chu and Sung", 
and who could whip and spur Yang and Ma. 8 Yea, our 
master walks alone in the history of a thousand years. 
Is it any wonder that he swayed princes and earls who 
hurried to him, arraying their multitudinous arms and 
linking the cross-bars of their carriages while num- 
berous men of wisdom gathered to do homage as the 
birds flock to the Phoenix? 

The Lord of the Yellow Gate 9 says that it is the 

5 Chen and Wei are the names of states under the Chou 
dynasty, which contributed love songs to the Book of "Odes" com- 
piled by Confucius. 

6 The Three Dynasties. The Hsia, the Shang and the Chou, 
comprising the years 2205-255 b. c. 

7 Feng and Sao are styles of ancient poetry. The Feng is 
found in the Confucian "Odes" while the Sao originated with 
Chu and Sung (i.e. Chu Yuan and Sung Yu) of the 4th and 
3rd centuries B. C. 

8 Yang and Ma. Yang Hsiung (53 b. c— a.d. 18) and Ssu- 
ma Hsiang-ju (died 117 B.C.), two noted poets of the Han 

9 The Lord of Yellow Gate. Refers to a certain Lu, a sue 
cessful statesman as well as a gentleman of parts. 


TJie Preface by Li Tang-ping 

Censor of the Court, Chen, l0 who stayed the tide of de- 
cadence and wrought a change of literature in form and 
matter. But even under our present dynasty the poesy 
was infected with the manners of the seraglio school of 
the Liang and Cheng dynasties 1X until our master swept 
them and banished them from the earth, causing a mar- 
velous change. Now the books of poesy, new or old, are 
cast off and do not prevail. But the writings of our 
master cover the universe. He in his power may be 
said to rival* Nature, the creator and transformer. 

In the beginning of the Tien-pao era 12 his Majesty's 
grandsire deigned to summon him. At the Gate of Gold 
Horse the emperor alighted from his car and walked to 
meet our master, welcoming him as though he were the 
venerable Chi the Hoary; 13 granted him a feast on the 
table of seven jewels and made him eat, seasoning the 
soup for him with his august hands. He said : "Thou art 
a cotton-clothed one, but art become known to me. 
How could this have been but that thou hast cherished 
virtue and righteousness?" So the Emperor let him sit 
in the Hall of Gold Bells, and go in and out of the 
Han-ling Academy; and questioned him on the affairs 
of government and privily ordered him to compose man- 
dates and rescripts. Of this none was aware. 

10 Censor of the Court, Chen. Chen Tsu-ang, a poet and an 
intimate friend of Lu above. 

11 The Liang and Chen dynasties covered respectively a.d. 
502-556 and 557-587, preceding the Tang dynasty. 

12 The Tien-Pao era covers the years 742-755. 

13 Chi,, the Hoary. Refers to Chi Li-chi, one of the so-called 
"Four Gray-heads," of the 3rd century b. c, who withdrew 
from the world toward the close of the reign of the First Em- 
peror of the Chin dynasty, but who reappeared upon the es- 
tablishment of the Han dynasty and were welcomed and vener- 
ated by the new emperor. 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

But when the true and the base are put side by side, 
the gifted one is injured and slanders are made, while 
the candid word of virtue fails. The emperor neglected 
him. Our master drank wine and by his indulgence ob- 
scured himself. And when he made poems and songs, 
he spoke often of the East Mountain. With Ho Chi- 
chang, Tsui Tsung-chi and the rest, he did also the revel 
of the Eight Immortals. Chi-chang called him "a god 
in exile." So his comrades at the court made compo- 
sitions, entitled "The Song of the God in Exile," which 
were several hundred in number, and most of which men- 
tioned our master's disappointments in life. The Son of 
Heaven, knowing that he could not be retained, gave gold 
and let him depart. 

Thereafter he went with Yen-yun, visiting-inspector 
of Chen-liu, 14 to the High Heavenly Priest of Pe-hai, 
whom he petitioned and was bestowed the Taoist tablet 
at the Purple Peak Temple in Chi-chou. 15 He only de- 
sired to return east to Peng-lai 16 and ride with the 
winged man to the Scarlet Hill of immortality. 

I, Yang-ping, was then trying my harp-playing and 
singing 17 at Tang-tu, although it was not what my heart 
coveted. Our master, forsaking me not, took a skiff 

14 Chen-liu. A city near Kaifeng-fu, Honan. 

15 Chi-chou. The present city, Chinan-fu, Shantung. 

16 Peng-lai is a fabled island in the eastern sea ; and the Scar- 
let Hill a dwelling place of exalted spirits. The Winged Men 
are those who have attained the highest rank in the Taoist 

17 To do "harp-playing and singing" means simply to govern, 
the phrase having a classic allusion to the story of the legendary 
emperor Shun of whom it is written, "Shun sang the Song of 
the South Wind, and there was peace in the land." Here the 
writer simply means that he, Yang-ping, was governor of Tang-tu. 


The Preface by Li Yang-ping 

and came to see me. It was when I was about to hang 
up my mandarin cap 18 that our master sickened. His 
manuscripts in ten thousand bundles and his hand col- 
lections were not yet arranged. So while lying on his 
pillow, he delivered them to me to be put in order. In 
discoursing on the significations of the Kuan-chu, now I 
feel ashamed to Pu Shang; 19 while in expounding the 
words of the Spring and Autumn I must forever blush 
before Tu Yu. 

Since confusion befell the mid imperial plains, 20 our 
master sought refuge elsewhere for eight years. His 
writings of those years were lost, nine out of ten. 
What are preserved herein, are for the most part what I 
obtained from others. 

Done on the I-chiu, the 11th moon of the First Year 
of the Pao-ying Era. (762). 

18 To "hang up one's mandarin cap" is to resign from office. 
Yang-ping was transferred from Tang-tu to Chin-yun Chekiang, 
in 763. 

19 Pu-shang (born, 507 B.C.), a disciple of Confucius, had 
the distinction of being entrusted by his master with the fa- 
mous collection of Odes, the "Shi King," of which Kuan-chu forms 
a part. Tu Yu of the 3rd century, a. d., was a celebrated 
commentator on another Confucian classic, the Spring and 
Autumn. By his metaphorical allusions to these eminent men 
and books Li Yang-ping means to exalt the works of Li Po 
which he is editing and commenting upon. 

20 The "Confusion," of the "mid imperial plains" refers to 
the Rebellion of An Lu-shan which was started in 755. 


(From the "Old Book of Tang" 1 ) 

Li Po, surnamed Tai-po, was a man of Shantung. 2 
While young, he possessed a superior talent, a great and 
tameless spirit, and fantastical ways of a transcendent 
mind. His father was Captain of Jen-cheng, and there 
Po made his home. While young still, he with the 
youths of Luh — Kung Chao-fu, Han Chun, Pei-Cheng, 
Chang Shu-ming, and Tao-Mien — retired in the moun- 
tain of Chu-lai, where they drank wine freely amid blithe 
singing. They were known at the time as "the Six Id- 
lers of the Bamboo Valley." 

Early in the Tien-pao era Po went traveling to Kuei- 
chi. He retired to a district in Yen with a Taoist, whose 
name was Wu-yun. Yun was called and went up to the 
imperial palace. He recommended Po to the court. And 
they were both ordered to wait upon the emperor in the 
Han-ling Academy. 

Po loved wine as hithertofore; and with his drinking 
companions drowsed daily in the tavern. 

The emperor Hsuan Tsung arranged tunes and desired 
to have new words for the court music. At once he 

* Li Hsu (897-947) wrote the "Old Book of Tang," a chronicle 
of the Tang dynasty, with a large number of biographies. The 
book was completed in 934. 

2 Li Po was not born in Shantung, but made his home there 
for a time as is told in the Introduction. Jen-cheng is a city in 


Li Po — A Biography by Liu Hsu 

summoned Po from the Tavern where he lay. Men took 
water and dashed it on his face, after which he was 
made to hold the writing brush. Anon, he composed 
ten or more songs. The emperor was much pleased 

Once while dead drunk in the palace hall Po held out 
his feet and made Kao Li-shih to pull off his shoes. 
Because of this he was dismissed and sent away. 

Now he wandered over lakes and rivers. He drank 
heavily all day long. At this time Tsui Tsung-chi, the 
Court Historian, demoted, was serving at Chin-ling. 
With Po he matched poems and drank wine. One moon- 
light night they took a boat from Tsai-shih to Chin-ling. 
Arrayed in the palace robe of brocade, Po sat in the 
boat, laughed and rolled his intrepid eyes as though 
there were no mortals near him. Ere this, Ho Chi- 
chang met Po and praised him, saying, "This man is a 
god exiled from the heaven above." 

In the rebellion of Luh-shan the emperor Hsuan 
Tsung made his progress to the land of Shuh. On his 
way he appointed Ling, Prince of Yung, as supreme Mili- 
tary Commander of Chiang and Hwai Regions and Gov- 
ernor-general of Yang-chou. Po was at Hsuan-Chou, 
and had an audience of the prince, and at last entered 
his service. Prince of Yung plotted conspiracy, and 
was defeated in the war. Po, involved, was sentenced 
to perpetual banishment to Yeh-lang. Later he was par- 
doned and enabled to return. He died at last at Hsuan- 
cheng with too much drinking. There are twenty vol- 
umes of his writing which prevail at this time. 



(From the "New Book of Tang" 1 ) 

Li Po, surnamed Tai-po, is a descendant in the ninth 
generation from the emperor Hsing-sheng. His ancestor 
in the latter part of the Sui dynasty was for some 
wrong-doing exiled to the west barbarian land; but the 
family escaped and returned in the beginning of the 
Shen-lung era. They sojourned in Pa-hsi. 

At the time of Po's birth his mother dreamed of the 
planet of Chang-keng, and because of this he was named 
after the star. At ten years of age he was versed in 
"the Odes" and "the History." When he was grown up, 
he hid himself in the Min Mountain, and would not re- 
spond though the province called for men of talent. 

Su Ting became Governor of I-chou. On seeing Po, 
he wondered and said: "This lad is a genius, he is bril- 
liant and singular. If a little more learning be added, 
he may be compared with Hsiang-ju." But Po delighted 
in strategems of crisscross alliances, took to swordsman- 
ship, and to errantry, scorning riches but esteeming 

Later he sojourned in Jen-cheng; and with Kung 
Chao-fu, Han Chun, Pei Cheng, Chang Shu-ming, and 
Tao-mien, dwelt in the Chu-lai Mountain, daily drinking 

iThe "New Book of Tang" was finished in 1060 by Ou-yang 
Hsiu and Sung Chi. Sung Chi, who did all the biographies 
in this book died in 1061. 


Li Po — A Biography by Sung Chi 

till they sank to the ground. They called* themselves, 
"the Six Idlers of the Bamboo Valley." 

At the beginning of the Tien-pao era he journeyed 
south to Kuei-chi, where he made a friend of Wu-Yun. 
Yun was summoned to court. So arrived Po also at 
Chang-an. He went to see Ho Chi-chang. Chi-chang 
saw his writing and said with a sigh, "You are a god in 
exile." He spoke to the emperor Hsan Tsung. Po was 
given audience in the Hall of Golden Bells; he dis- 
coursed upon the affairs of the world, and presented an 
ode. The emperor made him eat, seasoning the soup 
for him. A rescript was issued, by which Po was ap- 
pointed to serve in the Han-ling Academy. 

Po still went with his drinking companions, and 
drowsed in the market place. 

The emperor sat in the Pavilion of Aloes. Stirred 
by a fancy, he desired to obtain Po to write songs to 
music. Po was summoned in, and he was drunk. The 
attendants took water and washed his face. When he 
recovered somewhat, he was handed a writing brush, 
and made compositions. Exquisite and graceful and 
finely finished they were, yet he made them without 
stopping to think. The emperor liked Po's talent, and 
often banqueted with him. 

Once while attending upon the emperor, Po grew 
drunk and made Kao Li-shih pull off his shoes for him. 
Li-shih, a favorite of the throne, was humiliated thereby. 
He pointed out to Yang Kuei-fei a poem of Po, and 
caused her wrath. So when the emperor desired to ap- 
point Po to office, then she stopped him. 

Po himself, knowing he could not be taken in by those 
near the throne, all the more abandoned himself to 
recklessness. With Ho Chi-chang, Li Shih-chi, Chin, 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Prince of Ju-nan, Tsui Tsung-chi, Su Chin, Chang-Hsu, 
and Chiao Sui, he made up the "Eight Immortals of the 
Wine-cup." He implored for permission to return to 
the mountains; and the emperor gave gold and let him go. 

Po roamed hither and thither. One time he took a 
boat with Tsui Tsung-chi from Tsai-shih to Chin-ling. 
Arrayed in the palace robe of brocade, he sat in the 
boat as though there were no mortal near him. 

At the time of Au Lu-shan's rebellion Po lingered be- 
tween the Su-sung and the Kuang-luh mountains. Ling, 
Prince of Yung, called him and made him a subordinate 
of his staff. When Ling started war, Po fled to Peng-tse. 
But with the fall of Ling, Po was sentenced to death. 
Ere this, when Po was stopping in Ping-chou, he met Kuo 
Tsu-i and admired him. Once Tsu-i broke the law, and 
Po came to rescue and had him freed. So now Tsu-i 
petitioned to ransom Po with his own rank and title 
whereupon a rescript was issued for his perpetual ban- 
ishment at Yeh-lang. 

He received pardon, and returned to Hsin-yang. There 
he was imprisoned on account of a certain affair, 2 when 
Sung Jo-ssu on his way to Honan with his army of three 
thousand men of Wu came to Hsin-yang, released the 
prisoner, and placed Po on his general staff. But be- 
fore long he resigned. When Li Yang-ping became 
Governor of Tang-tu, Po went to live with him. 

Emperor Tai Tsung ascended the throne, 3 and he sum- 
moned Po to take the office of the censor of the court; 

2 This story of Li Po's second incarceration and his subse- 
quent relations with Sung Jo-ssu is not authentic. Sung Jo-ssu 
was the man who memorialized the throne on behalf of Li Po at 
the occasion of the latter's imprisonment. 

3 Tai Tsung ascended the throne in 763. 


Li Po — A Biography by Sung Chi 

but Po was then dead. His years were sixty and a 
little more. 

In his old age Po was fond of Taoism. He crossed 
the Bull Rock Shoal and reached Ku-shu, 4 where the 
Green Hill of the House of Hsieh pleased him, and he 
wished to make it the place of his last rest. But when 
he died, he was buried at the East Base. 

In the beginning of the Yuan-ho era 5 Fan Chuan- 
cheng, Inspector of Hsuan-she, performed rites at his 
grave, and forbade woodcutting at the place. He 
sought for descendants of his. There were only two 
granddaughters, who were married and were wives of 
peasants, but who carried with them an air of refinement. 
They wept and said, '"Our grandfather wanted the Green 
Hill; but is buried at the East Base, that is not his 
true wish." Whereupon Chuan-cheng made a reburial 
and erected two monuments. He told the two women 
that he would marry them into the official class. They 
declined, saying, "It is our destiny to end in poverty 
and isolation. We desire not to re-marry." Chuan- 
cheng approved them, and relieved their husbands from 
the conscript labor for the state. 

In the reign of the emperor Wen Tsung 6 by imperial 
edict Po in songs and odes, Pei-min in sword dance, 
and Chang Hsu in cursive calligraphy, were declared 
"the Three Paragons." 

4 Ku-shu, is not far from Tang-tu, which is an old name for 
Taiping, Anhwei. 

5 Yuan-ho era. 806-820. 

6 Wen Tsung reigned during 827-841. 




Very shorty after the death of Li Po, Li Yang-ping 
published a collection in ten books with a preface dated 
762, in which he says that the poet had lost a large por- 
tion of the poems written during his wanderings after 
the Rebellion of An Lu-shan, and many pieces in the 
books had been obtained from friends. Under the Sung 
Dynasty and about the year 1000, Kuo Yo-shih brought 
out a collection of ten books, which he combined with 
that of Li Yang-ping, making twenty books with 765 
poems altogether, beside ten books of miscellaneous 
writings. In 1064 the first two of the three volumes of 
another collection were discovered, adding 100 new 
poems. Wei Hao's collection in two books was not 
brought to light till 1068, which contributed 44 new 
pieces. Thus the collection grew. In 1080 Sung Ming- 
chiu published the complete works in thirty books, con- 
taining nearly 1000 poems and 66 pieces in prose. Under 
the Ming dynasty and in 1759 Wang Chi brought out 
the final edition of the complete works in 30 books, 
with copious annotations and six books of critical, bio- 
graphical and miscellaneous matter gleaned and gath- 
ered from all possible sources. This edition was re- 
printed in 1908 by the Soo Yeh Company of Shanghai. 

Besides those enumerated above, there have been pub- 
lished innumerable editions of complete works and se- 
lections in past centuries. I have used a modern Jap- 
anese edition of selected poems, consulted a Chinese 
edition of the Sung period in the Newberry Library of 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Chicago, and also the original Wang Chi edition of 1759 
in the New York City Public Library. The textual varia- 
tions are few and unimportant as far as the poems in the 
present book are concerned. 



The following books and periodicals are only the more 
important items of the Li Po Literature in English, 
French, and German, which have come to the writer's 
notice. The figure in parenthesis at the end indicates 
the number of poems of Li Po translated in the book. 

Joseph Marie Amiot. Memoires — concernant — VHis- 
toire; les Sciences, Les Arts, les Moeurs, les Usages, etc. 
— des Chinois, par les Missionaries de Pekin. Paris, 
1776-97. 14 vols. Contains a short biographical sketch, 
"Ly-pe, Poete." Vol. V., Pp. 396-399. 

Anna Bernhardi. Li Tai-Po. Mitteilungen des Semi- 
nar fur Orientalische Sprache, die Koniglishen Friedlich 
Wilhelms Universitat, Berlin, 1916. Vol. 19, Pp. 105- 
138. Translations with the Chinese text. Introduction, 
notes, list of previous translations. Also a translation 

of Li Yang-ping's Preface with the original text. (41) 


Hans Bethge. "Die Chinesische Flote." Leipzig: 
Inselverlag, 1910. (15) 

Charles Budd. "Chinese Poems." Oxford: Oxford 
University Press, 1912. A discussion of Chinese versi- 
fication in the Introduction. Translations in rhymed 
verse. (1) 

L. Cranmer-Byng. "A Lute of Jade." London: J. 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Murray, 1911. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1918. 
Poems of different periods. The Introduction covers 
"the Poets of the Tang Dynasty" and "a Poet's Emperor" 
(Hsuan Tsung). (8) 

"A Feast of Lanterns." London: J. Mur- 

ray, 1916. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1918. (6) 

Joseph Edkins. "On Li Tai Po." Journal of the Pekin 
Oriental Society, 1890. Vol. II., No. 5, Pp. 317-364. 
A paper read before the society on December 21, 1888. 
Translations in rhymed verse with Chinese text. (24) 

Karl Florenz. "Gedichte von Li Taipe" in "Beitrage 
fur Chinesische Poesie." Mitteilungen der Deulschen 
Geselschaft fiir Natur — und Volkerkunde Ostasiens, 
1889. Vol. I, Pp. 44-61. Contains a biography, notes 
and the original Chinese text. (12) 

A. Forke. "Bliithen Chinesischer Dichtung." Magd- 
burg, 1899. Poems of the Han, the Six Dynasties, as 
well as the Tang periods, done in rhymed verse. Il- 
lustrations. (39) 

Judith Gautier. "Poems Chinois de Tous les Temps." 
Revue de Paris, June, 1901. (3) 

"Le Livre de Jade." Paris, 1867 and 1918. 

"Chinese Lyrics." From "The Book of 

Jade" translated by James Whithall. New York: B. W. 
Huebsch, 1918. (9) 

H. A. Giles. "Gems of Chinese Literature." London : 
Bernard & Quaritch, 1884. (3,) 


"A History of Chinese Literature." London 

& New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1901. Pp. 151-156. 

"Chinese Poetry in English Verse." Lon- 
don: Bernard & Quaritch, 1898. A collection of Chinese 
poems from different periods, some of which are scat- 
tered throughout the "History of Chinese Literature" 
above. (21) 

Wilhelm Grube. "Geschichte der Chinesischen Li- 
terature." Leipzig: C. F. Amelangs Verlag, 1902. Pp. 
277-284. (2) 

Marquis d'Hervey Saint-Denys. "Poesie de l'Epoque 
de Thang." Paris, 1862. An Anathology of the Tang 
period with notes. Biographical sketch of Li Po in the 
Introduction. (29) 

Elizabeth Oehler-Heimerdinger. "Chinesische Lyric," 
Geist Ostens, Miinchen, 1913. I Jahrgang, Heft 3, 
Pp. 108-118. 

Theodore Pavie. "Le Poete Ly Tai-pe." "Choix des 
Contes et Nouvelles." Paris, 1839. The story of Li Po, 
one of the nouvelles, is entirely unreliable, though not 
without elements of truth. Pp. 9-142. 

Ezra Pound. "Cathay." London: Elkin Mathews, 
1915. (11) 

Franz Toussaint. "La Flute de Jade." Paris, 1920. 
A collection of very free and often fragmentary trans- 
lations in prose. (17) 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Arthur Waley. "Li Tai-Po." The Asiatic Review, 
London, October, 1919. Vol. XV, No. 44, Pp. 584-612. 
A paper which was read before the China Society. A 
valuable introduction with a translation of the poet's 
Biography in the "New Book of Tang." (24) 

"More Translations from the Chinese." 

New York: Alfred Knopf, 1919. Poems of Li Po in 
this book are a selection from those in the Asiatic Re- 
view, above. 

Florence Ayscough and Amy Lowell. "Fir-Flower 
Tablets." Boston: Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1921. Poems 
translated by Mrs. Ayscough and done into English verse 
by Miss Lowell. Mostly from Li Po and Tu Fu. (85) 

For general reference a few more books may be sug- 
gested, though they do not particularly concern Li Po. 

Demetrius C. Boulger. "The History of China." Lon- 
don: W. Thacker & Co., 1898. 

Li Ung Bing. "Outlines of Chinese History." Shang- 
hai: the Commercial Press, 1914. 

Sir John Francis Davis. "Poeseos smicae commentari" 
(the Poetry of China). London: Asher & Co., 1870. 

Arthur Waley. "One Hundred and Seventy Chinese 
Poems." New York: Alfred Knopf, 1919. 

Herbert Giles. "A Chinese Biographical Dictionary." 
London: B. Quaritch, 1892 and 1900. 


Previous translations, where they exist, are noted under 
each poem, although the compilation is by no means 
exhaustive. As for the full name of the translator 
and the title of his book or article, see the foregoing 

No. 1. On the Ship of Spice-wood. 

Pound, Cathay. The River Song. 
St. Denys, Poesie. En Bateau. 
Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Le Bonheur. 
Waley, Asiatic Rev. River Song. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. River Chant. 

No. 2. In the Mountains on a Summer Day. 

Waley, Asiatic Rev. and More Translations. 
In the Mountains on a Summer Day. 

No. 3. Nocturne. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Autumn River 

No. 4. A Farewell Song of White Clouds. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. The Song of 
White Clouds. 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

No. 5. The Long Departed Lover. 

Bernhardt, Li Tai-po. In die Feme. 
Toussaint, La Flute de Jade, La Chambre 

No. 6, 7, 8. Lady Yang Kuei-fei at the Imperial 
Feast of the Peony, I, II, III. 

Cranmer-Byng, A Lute of Jade. An Em- 
peror's Love. 

St. Denys, Poesie, Strophes Improvisees. 

Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Strophes Im- 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets, Songs to 
the Peonies. 

No. 9. A Poem Composed at the Imperial Command 
in the Spring Garden, While Looking on 
the Newly Green Willows by the Dragon 
Pond and Listening to the Hundred-fold 
Notes of the First Nightingales. 

No. 10. To His Friend Departing for Shuh. 

Edkins, On Li Tai-Po. Address to a Friend. 
Pound, Cathay. Leave-taking near Shuh. 

No. 11. To His Three Friends. 

No. 12. Addressed Humorously to Tu Fu. 

No. 13. On a Picture Screen. 



No. 14. On Ascending the North Tower One Autumn 

No. 15. The Summit Temple. 

No. 16. Lao-lao Ting, a Tavern. 

No. 17. The Night of Sorrow. 

Edkins, On Li Tai-Po. Feeling Aggrieved. 
Forke, Bliithen Chin. Dicht. Die Weinende. 
Giles, Gems of Chinese Lit. Tears. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Passionate 

No. 18. The Sorrow of the Jewel Staircase. 

Bethge, Die Chin. Flbte. Die Treppe im 

Edkins, On Li Tai-Po. Grief on Marble 

Giles, Gems of Chinese Lit. From the Palace. 
Pound, Cathay. The Jewel Stair's Grievance. 
Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Le Chagrin de 

Perron de Jade. 

No. 19. The Girl of Pa. 

Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. La Femme de 

No. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. The Woman of Yueh. I, II, 
III, IV, V. 

Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Les Jeunes 
Filles de Yueh. (No. 22) 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. The Young 
Girls of Yueh. (No. 21, 22) 

No. 25. The Solitude of Night. 

Cranmer-Byng, A Feast of Lanterns. Along 

the Stream. 
Edkins, On Li Tai-Po. Expressing What I 

Giles, Chinese Poetry in Eng. The Poet. 
Waley, Asiatic Rev. and More Translations. 

Self Abandonment. 

No. 26. The Monument of Tears. 

No. 27. On a Quiet Night. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Gedanken in Stiller 

Cranmer-Byng, A Lute of Jade. Thoughts 

in a Tranquil Night. 
Edkins, On Li Tai-Po. Thoughts on a Quiet 

Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Gedanken in 

Stiller Nacht. 
Forke, Bliithen Chin. Dicht. Mondenschein. 
Bethge, Die Chin. Flote. In der Fremde. 
Giles, Chinese Poetry in Eng. Night 


, Hist, of Chinese Lit. P. 154. 

St. Denys. Poesie. Pensee dans une Nuit 

Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Tristesse. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Night Thoughts. 


No. 28. The Blue Water. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Die Weise von 

Griinen Wasser. 
Edkins, On Li Tai-Po. Song of the Green 

Forke, Bliithen Chin. Dicht. Im Kahn. 
Gautier, Chinese Lyrics. The Forbidden 

Oehler-Heimerdinger, Chinesche Lyric. Im 


No. 29. The Ching-ting Mountain. 

Edkins, On Li Tai-Po. Sitting Alone on a 

Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Einsam auf 

dem Berge King-ting Sitzend. 
Giles, Chinese Poetry in Eng. Companions. 
, Hist, of Chinese Lit. P. 154. 

No. 30. With a Man of Leisure. 

Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Zechlage mit 

einem Einsiedler in Gebirge. 
Waley, Asiatic Rev. Drinking Together in 

the Mountains. 

No. 31. The Yo-mei Mountain Moon. 

No. 32. On the City Street. 

No. 33. On the Death of the Good Brewer of 



Li Po the Chinese Poet 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. On the Subject 
of Old Tai's Wine-shop. 

No. 34. To His Wife. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Mein Frau. 

No. 35. The Poet Thinks of His Old Home. 

Edkins, On Li Tai-Po, East Mountain Recol- 

No. 36, 37. Sorrow of the Long Gate Palace. I, II. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Bitter Jealousy 
in the Palace of the High Gate. 

No. 38. An Encounter in the Field. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. A Poem Given 
to a Beautiful Woman Encountered on a 

No. 39. To Wang Lun. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. A Parting Gift to 
Wang Lun. 

No. 40. On Seeing off Meng Hao-jan. 

Giles, Chinese Poetry in Eng. Gone. 

Pound, Cathay. Separation on the River 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. At the Yellow 
Crane Tower, Taking Leave of Meng Hao- 
Jan on his Departure to Kuang Ling. 


No. 41. On Being Asked Who He Is. 

No. 42. In the Mountain. 

Giles, Hist, of Chinese Lit P. 155. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Reply to an Un- 
refined Person Encountered in the Hills. 

No. 43. The Fair Queen of Wu. 

Bethge, Die Chin. Flote. Liebestrinken. 
Gautier, Rev. d. Paris. Ivresse d'Amour. 

, Chinese Lyrics, Intoxication of Love. 

Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. La Danseuse 
Un Peu Ivre. 

No. 44. While Journeying. 

Giles, Chinese Poetry in Eng. In Exile. 

No. 45. The Ruin of the Ku-Su Palace. 

Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Les Ruines de 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. A Traveler 

Comes to the Old Terrace. 

No. 46. The Ruin of the Capital of Yueh. 

No. 47. The River Journey from White King City. 

Edkins, On Li Tai-Po. From the City of 
White God. 

No. 48, 49. By the Great Wall, I, II. 

St. Denys, Poesie. Chansons des Frontieres. 
(No. 48) 


Ia Po the Chinese Poet 

Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Encore. (No. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Songs of the 

March, III. (No. 48) 

No. 50. The Imperial Concubine. 

Bernhardt, Li Tai-Po. Acht Gedechte iiber die 

Freuden in Palastinnern. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Pleasures within 

the Palace. 
Giles, Chinese Poetry in Eng. A Favorite. 
, Hist, of Chinese Lit. P. 152. 

No. 51. Parting at Ching-men. 

No. 52. On the Yo-Yang Tower with his Friend Chia. 

No. 53. Awakening from Sleep on a Spring Day. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Der Trinke im Friih- 

Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Lebensweis- 

Forke, Bliithen Chin. Dicht. Im Rausch. 

Giles, Gems of Chinese Lit. On Getting 
Drunk in Spring. 

Chinese Poetry in Eng. The Best of 

Life is But — 

St. Denys, Poesie. Un Jour de Printemps. 

Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Un Jour de 

Waley, Asiatic Rev. Waking from Drunken- 
ness on a Spring Day. 


Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets, A Statement of 
Resolutions after Being Drunk on a Spring 

No. 54 Three With the Moon and His Shadow. 

Bethge, Die Chin. Flote. Drei Kameraden. 
Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Einsame Ge- 

lage im Monschein. 
Giles, Chinese Poetry in Eng. Last Words. 

, Hist, of Chinese Lit. P. 153. 

Grube, Geschichte d. Chin. Lit. Trinklieder. 
Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Petite Fete. 
Waley, Asiatic Rev. & More Translations. 

Drinking Alone in the Moonlight, I. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Drinking Alone 

in the Moonlight, I. 

No. 55. An Exhortation. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Afforderung zum Trin- 

Forke, Bliithen Chin. Dicht. Der Rabe. 
St. Denys, Poesie. Chanson a Boire. 
Waley, Asiatic Rev. Drinking Song. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets, Drinking Song. 

No. 56. The Intruder. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Friihlings Gedanken. 

No. 57. The Crows at Nightfall. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Des Rabens Nachtlicher 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 


Edkins, On Li Tai-Po. Raven Calling in the 

Forke, Bliithen Chin. Dicht. Der Rabe. 

Gautier, Chinese Lyrics. The Birds are Sing- 
ing at Dusk. 

Giles, Hist, of Chinese Lit. P. 155. 

, Chinese Poetry in Eng. For Her 


Cranmer-Byng, A Lute of Jade. Memories 
with the Dusk Return. 

Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Les Corbeaux. 

No. 58. To Meng Hao-jan. 

No. 59. To Tung Tsao-chiu. 

Pound, Cathay. Exile's Letter, 

Waley, Asiatic Rev. Sent to the Commissary, 

Yuan of Chiao City, In Memory of Former 


No. 60. Taking Leave of a Friend. 

Forke, Bliithen Chin. Dicht. Geleit. 
Gautier, Rev. d. Paris. Le Depart d'un Ami. 
Giles, Chinese Poetry in Eng. A Farewell. 
Pound, Cathay. Taking Leave of a Friend. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets, Saying 1 Good- 
bye to a Friend. 

No. 61. Maid of Wu. 

No. 62. The Lotus. 

No. 63. To his Two Children. 


No. 64. To a Friend Going Home. 

No. 65. A Mountain Revelry. 

No. 66. The Old Dust. 

Giles, Hist, of Chinese Lit. P. 155. 

No. 67. A Pair of Swallows. 

Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. La Fidelite. 

No. 68. At a River Town. 

No. 69. I Am a Peach Tree. 

No. 70. The Silk Spinner. 

No. 71. Chuang Chou and the Butterfly. 

No. 72. The Poet Mourns his Japanese Friend. 

Edkins, On Li Tai-Po. A Japanese Lost a^ 

No. 73. In the Spring-time on the South side of the 
Yangtze kiang. 

No. 74. The Steep Road to Shuh. 

Waley, Asiatic Rev. The Ssuchuan Road. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. The Perils of 
the Shu Road. 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

No. 75. Parting at a Tavern of Chin-ling. 

Waley, Asiatic Rev. Parting with Friends at 
a Wine-shop in Chin-ling. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. The Poet is De- 
tained in a Nanking Wine-shop on the Eve 
of Starting on a Journey. 

No. 76. The Phoenix Bird Tower. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Aufstieg auf dem 

Turme des Phoeniz-Paares in Chin-ling. 
Pound, Cathay. The City of Cho-An. 
Lowell, Fir-Flofver Tablets. Feng Huang Tai. 

No. 77. His Dream of the Sky-land: a Farewell 

Waley, Asiatic Rev. A Dream of Tien-Mu 
Mountain (a partial translation). 

No. 78. In Memoriam. 

No. 79. On the Road of Ambition. 

No. 80. To Tu Fu from Sand Hill City. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. A Poem Sent to 
Tu Fu from Sha Chili Cheng. 

No. 81. A Vindication. 

Waley, Asiatic Rev. and More Translations. 

Drinking Alone in the Moonlight, III. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Drinking Alone 

in the Moonlight, II. 


No. 82. To Luh, the Registrar. 

No. 83. To the Fisherman. 

No. 84. The Tears of Banishment. 

No. 85. The Lotus Gatherer. 

Bethge, Die Chin. Flote. Am Ufer. 
Cranmer-Byng, A Lute of Jade. On the Banks 

of Jo-yeh. 
Gautier, Chinese Lyrics. At the River's 

St. Denys, Poesie. Sur les Bords de Jo-Yeh. 
Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Sur les Bords 

de Jo-Yeh. 
Waley, Asiatic Rev. On the Banks of Jo-Yeh. 

No. 86. The Sport Fellows. 

Forke, Bliithen Chin. Dicht. Die Kameraden. 

No. 87. The Rover of Chao. 

Forke, Bliithen Chin. Dicht. Der Fahrende 

Grube, Geschichte d. Chin. Lit. Ballade vom 

Fahrenden Ritter. P. 282. 
St. Denys, Poesie. Le Brave. 
Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. La Gloire. 

No. 89. To his Friend in Chiang-hsia. 

No. 90, 91. The Cataract of Luh Shan, I, II. 

Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Der Wasser- 
fall am Lushan. (No. 90) 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

No. 92. Bereft of Love. 

Waley, Asiatic Rev. The Distant Parting. 

No. 93, 94. Lady Wang-chao, I, II. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. The Honorable 
Lady Chao. (No. 94) 

No. 95. The North Wind. 

No. 96. The Borderland Moon. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Der Mond fiber dem 

Kuan Berge. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. The Moon over 

the Mountain Pass. 

No. 97. The Nefarious War. 

Forke, Bliithen Chin. Dicht. Elend des Krie- 

Waley, Asiatic Rev. Fighting. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Fighting to the 

South of the City. 

No. 98. Before the Cask of Wine. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Zwei Lieder beim 

Becher Wein. 
Forke, Bliithen Chin. Dicht. Beim Wein. 

No. 99. Yuan Tan-chiu of the East Mountain. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Schreiben an Yuan 

Waley, Asiatic Rev. To Tan-chiu. 


No. 100. Lines. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Gedichte aus Zeilcn 

von Drei, Fiinf und Sieben Zeichen. 
Giles, Chinese Poetry in Eng. No Inspiration. 
Ldwell, Fir-Flower Tablets, Word Pattern. 

No. 101, 102, 103, 104. The Ballads of the Four 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Vier Wu Lieder nach 
Tsu-yeh Art. 

St. Denys, Poesie. Chanson des Quatre Sai- 

Toussaint, La Flute de Jade. Chanson des 
Quatre Saisons. 

Cranmer-Byng, A Lute of Jade. Under the 
Moon. (No. 103) 

Giles, Gems of Chinese Lit. The Grass- Wid- 
ow's Song. (No. 103) 

No. 105, 106. Two Letters from Chang-kan. 

Bernhardi, Li Tai-Po. Zwei Lieder aus 

Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Das Lied von 

Chang-Kan. (No. 105) 
Pound, Cathay. The River Merchant's Wife: 

A Letter. (No. 105) 
Waley, Asiatic Rev. Chang-Kan. (No. 105) 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Chang-Kan. 

(No. 105) 

No. 107. On Ascending the Sin-ping Tower. 

Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Beim Aufstei- 
gen im Hause, Sin-Ping-Lou. 

Li Po the Chinese Poet 

No. 108. On Visiting a Taoist Recluse on Mount T^ 
Tien, but Failing to Meet Him. 

Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Vergeblicher 
Besuch bei einem Einsiedler. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Visiting Taoist 
Priest on the Mountain that which Upholds 
Heaven; He is Absent. 

No. 109. At the Cell of an Absent Mountain Priest. 

Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Besuch bei 
einem Bergpriester, den Ich Nicht Antraf. 

No. 110. On a Moonlight Night. 

Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Gedanken beim 

Betrachten des Mondes. 
Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. In Deep Thought, 

Gazing at the Moon. 

No. 111. A Visit to Yuan Tan-chiu in the Mountains. 
No. 112. A Midnight Farewell. 

No. 113. The Song of Luh Shan. 

Edkins, On Li Tai-Po. Song of Lushan. 
Florenz, Gedichte v. Li Taipe. Lied auf dem 

No. 114, 115, 116. To his Wife on his Departure. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Separated by 
Imperial Summons from Her who Lives 



No. 117. On his White Hair. 

Giles, Hist, of Chinese Lit. P. 153. 

, Chinese Poetry in Eng. Within a 

Oehler-Heimerdinger, Chinesische Lyric. 

Wenn All mein Weisses Haar. 

No. 118. To the Honorable Justice .Hsin. 

No. 119. On Hearing the Flute in the Yellow Crane 

No. 120. On Hearing the Flute in Lo-cheng One 
Spring Night. 

Lowell, Fir-Flower Tablets. Hearing a Bam- 
boo Flute on a Spring Night in the City of 
Lo Yang. 

No. 121, 122. On the Tung-ting Lake, I, IL 
No. 123. To His Wife. 

No. 124. To His Friend Wei, the Good Governor of 
Chiang-hsia. Written in Commemoration of the 
Old Friendship during the Days of his Banish- 
ment after the Tumult of War. 

No attempt was made to list previous translations for 
the following poems in Part II. 


Li Po the Chinese Poet 

No. 125. The Eight Immortals of the Wine-cup. 


No. 126. The Ex-Minister of State. Li Shih-chi 
No. 127. A Visit to Fan with Li Po. Tu Fu 

No. 128. Parting with Li Po on the Tung-Ting Lake 

Chia Chi 

No. 129. An Invitation to Li Po. Tsui Tsung-chi 

No. 130. To Li Po on a Spring Day. Tu Fu 

No. 131. To Li Po. Tu Fu 

No. 132. The Grave of Li Po. Po Chu-i